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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    We play in a core class only game, and I was talking to another player about some of the limitations of the core classes, particularly the Fighter. Not only the oft-cited problem of spell casters and some other classes outpacing the Fighter pretty quickly, but also in regards to creating a Fighter based on well-known fictional or historical persons. Fighters are so limited in skills and some other abilities that it's necessary to find non-core classes or multiclass just to create the stereotypical knight or viking. A Fighter doesn't have Knowledge: Nobility and Royalty, Profession (Sailor), or any kind of abilities you might find in a general.

    My friend's contention was that the system was designed for characters to multiclass, it was an expected part of the game that most PCs would be two or more classes. He points to the notion that races have a favored class, that it's likely they're going to be their favored racial class and something else.

    Is multiclassing a fundamental expectation, that most PCs will have two or more classes? Was the notion that obviously a player looking to play Julius Caesar would be a Fighter/Bard and Gandalf would be a spell caster of some sort and a Fighter? (Is Conan a Barbarian/Fighter/Rogue or just Fighter/Rogue?)
    Last edited by Mars Ultor; 2019-05-19 at 12:14 AM.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    The game was intended for the PHB classes to all make an equal contribution, even staying single-classed, but that obviously doesn't happen.
    Regardless of whether rampant multiclassing was intended or not, whatever was intended just won't happen with such poorly designed (mechanically) and poorly balanced classes as those we have in the PHB.

    Regarding your game specifically, being limited to the core classes, that's just poorly thought out. A single-classed Druid is going to have an animal companion that's just as effective as a single-classed Fighter or Monk. "I am a druid, I have special abilities that are more powerful than your entire class!"

    The fact of the matter is, there are some classes that will do fine if you stay single-classed for your whole career (any primary spellcaster), while the other classes are just bad to stick with until 20th+. They even put a dead level at Rogue 20, why would you even bother taking that class level over a single-level dip into something else?

    Some classes are just bad and should be multiclassed/prestige classed out of. I doubt this was intended by the designers, but the designers were really, really bad at balancing the classes and designing the mechanics behind the classes. Seeing nonspellcasters rampantly multiclassing as they desperately grasp for some semblance of a viable build is just a side effect of that.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    The fact that classes run up to twenty levels (and the inability to return to the paladin or monk classes if one mmulti-classes away from them) imply that multi-classing was not meant to be compulsory. The way the favoured class system is set up does seem to indicate that if one multi-classes one is meant either to keep the classes even, or to dip only a level or two either the favoured class, or else (if one takes most of the levels of the favoured class) one other class. Prestige classes are an exception to this as they don’t penalize xp and many of them require two base classes to meet their prerequisites.

    Also, the non-prestige iconic example characters are treated as single-classes, again reflecting designer intentions. That said, designer intent may not have matched how the rules worked out in play, as has been noted.
    Last edited by Particle_Man; 2019-05-19 at 12:39 AM.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    I'd say Fighter's lack of skills is a failed attempt at niche protection for the Ranger and the Rogue. As it happens, the Ranger is just a better class (as is the Barbarian) much because of the skills those classes bring to bear. Indeed, this is why making a "Fighter" is mostly a losing proposition and most characters that try to fulfill that niche should probably just use the Ranger instead, because the Ranger is a Fighter with skills like Spot, Listen, Profession and so on. Of course, they too lack Knowledges, which is a bummer: this is where ToB classes come in, being made with a more mature idea of what martial characters should look like.

    But no, I don't think they expected much multiclassing even though it were an option. More than likely they just didn't think the whole thing through. Why is the Wizard more into Nobility and Royalty or Warfare than the guy who actually cares about Nobility and Royalty or Warfare (i.e. the Fighter for example), I'll never know.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    My friend's contention was that the system was designed for characters to multiclass, it was an expected part of the game that most PCs would be two or more classes. He points to the notion that races have a favored class, that it's likely they're going to be their favored racial class and something else.
    Personally I always interpreted the multiclass xp penalty that the favored class offsets as indicating that the the game designers didn't like multiclassing and wanted you to play generic characters

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Personally I always interpreted the multiclass xp penalty that the favored class offsets as indicating that the the game designers didn't like multiclassing and wanted you to play generic characters
    Just take multiple full BAB classes investing no more than two levels in each and you would avoid multiclassing penalties.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    Fighters are so limited in skills and some other abilities that it's necessary to find non-core classes or multiclass just to create the stereotypical knight or viking. A Fighter doesn't have Knowledge: Nobility and Royalty, Profession (Sailor), or any kind of abilities you might find in a general.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    More than likely they just didn't think the whole thing through. Why is the Wizard more into Nobility and Royalty or Warfare than the guy who actually cares about Nobility and Royalty or Warfare (i.e. the Fighter for example), I'll never know.
    I've just been looking through the list of Knowledge skills, under Architecture and Engineering it lists fortifications, under Geography terrain, and under History wars. It'd never really occurred to me before how absurd it is that Fighters don't have those skills on their lists, as anyone of officer rank would need to know about all of them, and veteran soldiers would often have a better knowledge of them than someone who'd merely read a book about them too.

    I think you just convinced me to add those three skills to the Fighter list in my games.
    Last edited by Biggus; 2019-05-19 at 07:55 AM.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Initially they were probably thinking it was going to be on the rarer side, with few characters taking more than two classes. Or at least it should be. Coming from 2e, this method was a lot less restrictive than what came before. No race restrictions or level caps, getting the full value of the abilities of your first class while you level up the second. It was a scary new time.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by NomGarret View Post
    Initially they were probably thinking it was going to be on the rarer side, with few characters taking more than two classes. Or at least it should be. Coming from 2e, this method was a lot less restrictive than what came before. No race restrictions or level caps, getting the full value of the abilities of your first class while you level up the second. It was a scary new time.
    Back when 3.0 was launched, sure.
    But after 3 years of playtesting?

    When publishing 3.5 it should have been clear that base classes were not correctly balanced and that mundanes tended to multiclass more than magic users.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    I get the impression, just from the text, that the sentiment wasn’t consistent among the whole development team. I feel like some devs thought it would/should be much more common than other devs did.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by noce View Post
    Back when 3.0 was launched, sure.
    But after 3 years of playtesting?

    When publishing 3.5 it should have been clear that base classes were not correctly balanced and that mundanes tended to multiclass more than magic users.
    I mean, they did try. They toned down a few of the spells (A lot of buffs went from hour/level to 10minute/level or even minute/level, haste was significantly nerfed as one of the worst) and gave some of the full BAB classes some stuff (ranger combat styles), but overall, they still mostly failed.

    Core only, no, it was probably not intended that people would multiclass a lot. But even the DMG included multiclass prestige classes like Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster.

    As for skills, I long ago house ruled that everyone just gets a large number of skills per level and leave it to them to take whatever they want. Most games, I run it as everyone gets 6 or 8 skill points per level, except rogues and bards, who get more, and everyone can take any skill. So far no problem and much more versatile characters especially on the early levels.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by noce View Post
    Back when 3.0 was launched, sure.
    But after 3 years of playtesting?

    When publishing 3.5 it should have been clear that base classes were not correctly balanced and that mundanes tended to multiclass more than magic users.
    Great Cleave Whirlwind is a way to balance mundane with magic users.
    However, 3.5 nerf bat the entire thing because of bag of rats.
    One way to balance is to treat Whirlwind as an AoE (a single attack), and Great Cleave should be limited to once per attack (with at least one kill in that attack), not once per any kill.

    Multi-Class gives you the +2 to good saves (2.5 in fractional save), so all of the classes are so front loaded.
    Last edited by HouseRules; 2019-05-19 at 09:43 AM.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    I've just been looking through the list of Knowledge skills, under Architecture and Engineering it lists fortifications, under Geography terrain, and under History wars. It'd never really occurred to me before how absurd it is that Fighters don't have those skills on their lists, as anyone of officer rank would need to know about all of them, and veteran soldiers would often have a better knowledge of them than someone who'd merely read a book about them too.

    I think you just convinced me to add those three skills to the Fighter list in my games.

    My character is the son of a general. He was raised in court and educated in both military command and combat. I had to be a Fighter/Rogue just to have enough skill points and access to Knowledge and other relevant skills.

    In the campaign I DM everyone gets two extra skill points per level and they can learn any skills. Clerics have Diplomacy but not Sense Motive? Rangers don't have Knowledge: Local (which includes humanoids)? Everyone has profession except Fighters? I allow players to take whatever they want.

    Just from a rational standpoint it doesn't make sense. But it also limits customizing your character and personalizing them. It's easy to imagine a boy singing in the church choir who has a religious experience and believes that the flare of light coming through the stained glass window was Pelor anointing him to become a Paladin, except that Paladins don't have perform and so can't sing. Clerics also don't have Perform, meaning not only can they not participate in the choir, but surely puts a damper on their sermons. The Ranger who roams the land doesn't have Knowledge: Local, so he doesn't know about one particular area, but he also has to pay double for languages, so he can't really travel widely either. Your Fighter can Jump pretty well or play the Harmonica, but he can't do both.
    Last edited by Mars Ultor; 2019-05-19 at 10:16 AM.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Do you need perform to sing? It is not a trained only skill so if you have charisma you could get by as a natural.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Multiclassing is introduced in the PHB so it's obviously intended to be common. The multi-classing penalties and favored classes are intended to limit it to some degree, so that most players only have 1 or 2 classes. Maybe 3. No they're not there to make yourself cry yourself to sleep with snail's pace level progression. And math reveals they don't really do that either (in the super rare case you eat one at all), but that's another topic. The intention was to have most people multiclass, but also to have a large portion of people single class too. Casters were also expected to be mostly single class of course. But they omitted that tip and left it to the player figure out like all tips, a dumb idea that Monte Cook later regretted. It is alright for non-casters to dip a casting class, and vis-versa. And the DMG supports both multi-classing (theurge, EK, arcane trickster) and dips (dragon disciple, arcane archer). Fighter dips don't need prc support since they're so close to just going all in and taking EK.

    You don't need skills to have basic competence. That's an old fallacy that contradicts the basic PHB information on skills, and DMs need to stop enforcing it with unnecessary and/or high DC skill checks. For extraordinary ability in a certain field, then you need a skill. You're supposed to have a chance at basic skill checks or not require any check without having any skill ranks. And a maxed skill is supposed to auto pass all but amazing feats of skill. No one questions when spells just work. But skill checks on much more minor tasks are supposed to have a risk of you crashing, burning and often getting you hurt? No. Just no. And that contradicts the general skill information on when to even roll at all, DCs, taking 10s, taking 20s, etc. Maxed skills are only for truly extraordinary actions, or for auto-passing reasonably good actions. For your backstory you need 1 skill rank if even that.

    Modeling popular figures isn't always a great fit. Caesar wouldn't be a great adventurer. He was an excellent warrior but nothing legendary. His skill as a politician was what was legendary. Best match might be aristocrat/fighter, or just a decent level straight aristocrat (the NPC class gets full arms training). And an NPC not a PC. A player could do something similar but different to make it more viable as a PC. Tolkein's universe doesn't allow spell spamming so Gandalf needed a backup weapon. He probably had an OP race too. If anything in D&D I might take straight wizard, a weapon proficiency feat and an ok strength. To make it viable it would just be a backup tactic, and eventually I'd go for a spell storing weapon used once per fight. Etc. for other figures: Fit them only as well as you can.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-05-19 at 11:12 AM.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    My character is the son of a general. He was raised in court and educated in both military command and combat. I had to be a Fighter/Rogue just to have enough skill points and access to Knowledge and other relevant skills.

    In the campaign I DM everyone gets two extra skill points per level and they can learn any skills. Clerics have Diplomacy but not Sense Motive? Rangers don't have Knowledge: Local (which includes humanoids)? Everyone has profession except Fighters? I allow players to take whatever they want.

    Just from a rational standpoint it doesn't make sense. But it also limits customizing your character and personalizing them. It's easy to imagine a boy singing in the church choir who has a religious experience and believes that the flare of light coming through the stained glass window was Pelor anointing him to become a Paladin, except that Paladins don't have perform and so can't sing. Clerics also don't have Perform, meaning not only can they not participate in the choir, but surely puts a damper on their sermons. The Ranger who roams the land doesn't have Knowledge: Local, so he doesn't know about one particular area, but he also has to pay double for languages, so he can't really travel widely either. Your Fighter can Jump pretty well or play the Harmonica, but he can't do both.
    If your Fighter who was the son of a general only takes levels in Fighter, then it represents that he was a lot more focused in learning combat than those other skills. Maybe he has one cross-class rank in a few of the skills his father tried to teach him, but he didn't exactly care enough to learn any more about those things. His father the general was likely an Aristocrat (possibly multiclassed from Fighter) given his profession.

    Clerics have Diplomacy because they're good at talking/convincing, but not so good at reading others' intentions. Knowledge: Local is for knowing who a particular person is, and with a Knowledge check you also know some of their capabilities. Rangers don't usually spend enough time in urban areas to get to know who's who, and wouldn't have heard that the bandit leader is actually a powerful psion for example.

    I do agree that the skill system has as many flaws as the rest of the game. There shouldn't be any such thing as a cross-class skill (or use Pathfinder's version), and in games I run every class gets at least four base skill points per level.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    My character is the son of a general. He was raised in court and educated in both military command and combat. I had to be a Fighter/Rogue just to have enough skill points and access to Knowledge and other relevant skills.
    Everyone forgets the npc classes. Son of a general, educated in military command and combat? Your an Aristocrat, a Noble, a Knight, or a Paladin. If it's an eastern campaign then you're an Aristocrat, a Noble or a Samurai. You could even be a Marshal

    Aristocrat is from the dmg, and is a core class. With 3/4ths bab, 4+int mod skills, a good save, proficiency in all simple/martial and with all armor and with shields, your set up to be slightly worse than a fighter in combat, and have the skills needed to lead.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    This might have already been said, but I suspect the amount of multiclassing found in Pathfinder is only slightly lower than what the designers expected: uncommon but not unusual. The fact that (for example) Clerics gain very little if anything from staying single-class, while Druids rarely if ever want to add anything else (Planar Shepherd and Moonspeaker aside) seems a bug, nit a feature.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    The mission statement on this changed greatly as 3rd Edition progressed into the 3.5 lines.

    Originally the classes were supposed to reflect 2nd Edition, in that you pick a class and stick with it. The purpose of the EXP penalty was to discourage lots of class dipping to pick up front ended powers, while still allowing classes to be front ended so you could play the concept from level 1. Another was to provide a large advantage in flexibility to humans so that if you wanted to play something that did 'dip' in an odd way, human would be the preferred concept.
    Prestige classes were intended to be an alternative system to class kits that were created as the 2nd Edition line moved forward. Rather than starting out as a specialist in a certain field, it would be something your character gradually moved into.

    As the system progressed into the 3.5 Edition, this statement evolved. This was partially as a result of positive feeback from the 3rd party content created through the open gaming license, with more and more prestige classes being made to fill various niche concepts. It was also due to flaws uncovered with the EXP penalty rules, specifically that they did not function to limit character silliness as they as they claimed to, and they stifled creativity by pigeon-holing races into certain archetypes. For instance, a wild elf barbarian 4/ranger 1 would have an EXP penalty since neither of those are favored class despite being perfectly sensible lore-wise and thematically appropriate, while a dwarf cleric 1/rogue 1/fighter 1/druid 1/ranger 1/monk 1/assassin 10 would not incur any penalty.

    It's for these reasons EXP penalties were all but ignored by the community, and the 3.5 eventually became a modular design system where you built a character to meet a concept, rather than forcing your character to conform to the abilities that are given to you.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    I think for wizards at least, they expected players to be dipping hither and whither their moods taking them, hence why a lot of the more generic prestige classes had cool features frontloaded in the first couple of levels, whilst the more specific classes with weirder features required deeper investment to let you delve into its secrets.
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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    I think there are two things clear about the developers, one that they had two different camps one that believed that you should go pretty much single class through all 20 levels, examples of this are paladin and monk's restrictions and multiclassing exp penalties. And another camp that believed multiclassing was a big part, examples being favored class functionality, and prcs like arcane trickster, arcane archer, blackguard, eldrich knight, and mystic theurge.

    The second is that the developers had no idea what they were doing and didn't learn much as they went along which can be seen from class balance throughout 3.5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    I've just been looking through the list of Knowledge skills, under Architecture and Engineering it lists fortifications, under Geography terrain, and under History wars. It'd never really occurred to me before how absurd it is that Fighters don't have those skills on their lists, as anyone of officer rank would need to know about all of them, and veteran soldiers would often have a better knowledge of them than someone who'd merely read a book about them too.

    I think you just convinced me to add those three skills to the Fighter list in my games.
    Ya I have been working on a homebrew of fighter and let them choose their own skill list since I think they should be the most versatile class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    (Is Conan a Barbarian/Fighter/Rogue or just Fighter/Rogue?)
    I am of the camp that conan would probably be barbarian/rogue/cleric...

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    I am of the camp that conan would probably be barbarian/rogue/cleric...

    Cleric? Did he suddenly become devout after that first time he prayed to Crom? Conan was granted revenge and then picked up the prayer beads?
    Last edited by Mars Ultor; 2019-05-20 at 03:13 PM.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    It's for these reasons EXP penalties were all but ignored by the community, and the 3.5 eventually became a modular design system where you built a character to meet a concept, rather than forcing your character to conform to the abilities that are given to you.
    Yeah, that was just about the first thing we ditched from the get-go - along with the specific rules on paladin and monk multiclassing. (I mean, a Paladin/Monk made me a great ersatz Buffy!) (And all but the Paladin's alignment restrictions.) While my players and I mostly still have a lot of single-class characters, as we treat classes as bundle of abilities, there are often a few dips here and there. (Mostly base classes, actually, not all that many PrCs.) I've seen a few character that get to four classes (Ranger/fighter/Deepwood Sniper/Crusader and Rogue/Ninga/Inivisible Blade/Swordsage (both from the same player, actually), but I don't think we've gone beyond that.)

    Myself, the problems of caster levels aside, I thought the multiclassing of 3.0 was a stroke of genius, despite how obvious a thing it was.

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    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I get the impression, just from the text, that the sentiment wasn’t consistent among the whole development team.
    This, for sure.

    For example, Monte Cook likes high-power spellcasters. I think S. K. Reynolds likes tiny little circumstantial +1 bonuses (going off memory here). They didn't rigorously review one another's work, hence the current mismatch.

    Multiclassing XP penalties are just a failure on every level; they may be intended to encourage race/multiclass combinations and to discourage dipping, but they do none of that in practice. That one's just a total cluster****.
    Spoiler: Collectible nice things
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Read ExLibrisMortis' post...

    WHY IS THERE NO LIKE BUTTON?!
    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    Libris: look at your allowed sources. I don't think any of your options were from those.
    My incarnate/crusader. A self-healing crowd-control melee build (ECL 8).
    My Ruby Knight Vindicator barsader. A party-buffing melee build (ECL 14).

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Colorado
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    Cleric? Did he suddenly become devout after that first time he prayed to Crom? Conan was granted revenge and then picked up the prayer beads?
    I think a one level cleric of Crom dip makes sense with him, seriously he talks about crom left right and center.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    yeah but crom explicitly never helps his followers if I recall correctly that was his whole thing. Its like saying by Odin's beard its not a prayer just a thing people say.
    Last edited by awa; 2019-05-20 at 11:53 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How much multiclassing is intended in 3.5?

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    I think a one level cleric of Crom dip makes sense with him, seriously he talks about crom left right and center.
    You don't have to be a cleric to be devout, contrary to a lot of players belief. I always pick a deity for my characters and try to live by that deity's dogma, or use it as a loose guideline for how my character considers his/her actions.

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