Multiclassing and Archetypes

Friday, July 27, 2018

One of the trickiest parts of the rules is multiclassing. At its heart, multiclassing allows you to build almost any character you can envision, taking parts from multiple classes to build the perfect version of your character. Making these rules play well with the rest of the game, unfortunately, has always been a challenge. Concepts that really should work together just fell flat, leaving you with a character who could not perform at its level and keep pace with single class characters. This was especially the case for certain classes, like most spellcasters, that had a central class feature or features that you would fall sharply behind in if you weren't constantly progressing in that class.

Suffice to say, when it came time to redesign the system for the Pathfinder Playtest, we knew that multiclassing needed work.

Then came the rules for archetypes. The new design for this emblematic part of the game allows archetypes to be taken by any class, so you can decide exactly how much you want to invest into an alternative path for your character. The more we worked on that system, the more it began to sound like it shared almost exactly the same goals as multiclassing. Our thought was, shouldn't they just be the same system?

Multiclass archetypes are one of the more experimental parts of the Pathfinder Playtest. So much so that there are only four of them in the book, one for cleric, one for fighter, one for rogue, and one for wizard. Just like ordinary archetypes, you must take a special dedication feat to gain access to the archetype, but you cannot be of the same class as the archetype (so you can't take the rogue dedication feat if you are already a rogue). Let's take a look at one of these feats.

Wizard Dedication Feat 2

Archetype, Dedication, Multiclass

Prerequisites Intelligence 16, trained in Arcana


You cast spells like a wizard and gain a spellbook containing four arcane cantrips of your choice. You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity and the Material Casting, Somatic Casting, and Verbal Casting actions. You can prepare two cantrips each day from those found in your spellbook. You're trained in spell rolls and spell DCs for casting arcane spells and in attacks you make with arcane spells. Your key spellcasting ability for these spells is Intelligence. You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast. Arcana is a signature skill for you.

Special You cannot select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the wizard archetype.

Right away, this lets you cast a few simple cantrips; allows you to use wands, scrolls, and staves; and makes Arcana a signature skill for you (meaning you can advance your proficiency in the skill to master and legendary). Like other dedication feats, once you've taken Wizard Dedication, you gain access to other wizard archetype feats, each of which makes you a more powerful master of the arcane arts. Take a look.

Basic Wizard Spellcasting Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication


Add two level 1 spells to your spellbook. You gain a single level1 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 1 spell from your spellbook. At 6th level, add two level 2 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 2 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 2 spell from your spellbook. At 8th level, add two level 3 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 3 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 3 spell from your spellbook.

Even though you can cast spells, the spell level of your cantrips and arcane powers is half your level rounded up.

This feat pays dividends all the way up through 8th level, giving you more spells you can cast, and if you take it later on in your career, you get all of that spellcasting all at once. Better still, there are additional feats you can take to gain spells of up to 8th level! But let's say you want to be even more of a wizard—you want to get some of the other class features that make wizards fun to play. Take a look at these feats.

Arcane School Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisite Wizard Dedication


Select one school of magic from those found in the wizard class. You gain the level 1 school power tied to your school and a pool of Spell Points equal to your Intelligence modifier that you can use to cast that power.

If you already have a pool of Spell Points, use the higher ability score to determine the pool, as normal, and your Spell Point pool increases by 1.

Basic Arcana Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication


Gain a level 1 or level 2 wizard feat of your choice.

Advanced Arcana Feat 6

Archetype

Prerequisites Basic Arcana


Gain one wizard feat. For the purposes of meeting its prerequisites, your wizard level is equal to half your level.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time you select it, you gain a new wizard feat.

There's even a feat that gives you additional spell slots of every level except for your two highest, giving you more versatility in your spellcasting. It's important to note that these powers come at the cost of some of the flexibility of your primary class, but not at the cost of core features. A cleric who multiclasses into fighter will keep all of her spellcasting abilities, but she will have to trade out some of the feats that allow her to be better at casting heal or at using domain powers in exchange for increased proficiency in weapons and armor, added hit points, and the ability to make attacks of opportunity. You might even choose to multiclass into several classes. You could play a cleric who, in addition to all her cleric spells, also has up to 8th-level druid spells and 8th-level wizard spells, though such a three-tradition spellcaster would have few cleric feats to speak of!

Well, that about covers the rules for multiclassing in the Pathfinder Playtest. If these archetypes work, you can expect to see one for each class in the final version of the game, giving you the flexibility to build characters that draw on more than one class to make their concept click. We hope you'll give these a try during the playtest and let us know what you think!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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Interesting.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't like it but I think it will be just as, if not more fun. If that makes sense


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Hmmmm....

So all multiclassing is now VMC, in a sense? I’m.... not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, in P1e, I would hate it completely. On the other hand, class progression is completely overhauled, so...

Well, it’s not much longer to wait at least.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Meh

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it goes pretty well with the class builds for PF2.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ooh, shiny! Do spontaneous casters get the same number of spells known as Wizard gets in in their spellbook? Three cantrips?

I’ll definitely be checking out all the multiclass archetypes!


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Looks fine to me - your wizard can be sneaky without permanently giving up 20th level stuff, etc. I don't think I'll see a need to multiclass anyway, given the great customization we've seen so far.


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Dαedαlus wrote:

Hmmmm....

So all multiclassing is now VMC, in a sense? I’m.... not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, in P1e, I would hate it completely. On the other hand, class progression is completely overhauled, so...

Well, it’s not much longer to wait at least.

More flexible and stronger than VMC, I think. You can get legit casting, and you can trade the feats you want when you want.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast.

Does this mean martials can't use wands, scrolls, and staves normally?


It sounds like this is one that the developers are looking for a lot of feedback on. It is interesting to see that getting access to other classes' feats is not going to be as easy as taking a single dedication feat.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I mostly like this, but I'm a little disappointed that the only multiclass archetypes in the book are for Cleric/Fighter/Rogue/Wizard. It would have been nice to see what a spontaneous caster would look like, for example.


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Personally I am excited about this. I think it will work a lot better for many character types than traditional multi classing did. It's a shame that you can't do a total career change though, that might be worth adding in as an option in addition to the archetypes.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
willuwontu wrote:
Quote:
You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast.
Does this mean martials can't use wands, scrolls, and staves normally?

That seems to be implied. After all, Trinkets were added specifically for martials.


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

We are still over a year away from seeing the multiclass feats for spontaneous casters, unfortunately.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Need to wait a few more days to see, but need to see what the martial side looks like. Need to see how different Fighter into Wizard versus Wizard into Fighter feel.


willuwontu wrote:
Quote:
You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast.
Does this mean martials can't use wands, scrolls, and staves normally?

I'm hoping it just costs a skill feat in arcana/religion/divine/occultisim.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is rather interesting. So... can a Sorcerer Multiclass into Wizard? Because that could prove most interesting. And it also allows a Prestige Class of sorts - a Wizard or Cleric Multiclassing into the other class can build a Mystic Theurge, and actually have a viable character out of the affair.

The problem with it is it limits the classes you can multiclass... and encourages people to play classes such as Bard, Alchemist, or Ranger and then take the Multiclass Archetype to get a core class. Also, I have to wonder just what the Rogue and Fighter Multiclass Archtypes bring to the table because they either risk being lackluster and not taken compared to the Wizard and Cleric, or they steal enough thunder from the Fighter and Rogue classes that people don't see a need to take them and instead just Multiclass.

I don't suppose you can give us a couple examples of Rogue and Fighter Multiclass Archetypes to help fill things out a little?

Side note: Once we get alternative-alignment Paladins out there, I can see a lot of Warrior Priests with players running a Paladin that multiclasses Cleric to have spellcasting abilities. And for that matter, you can have Rangers build a "Hunter" build by multiclassing with Druid should that ever be allowed. (Or the Slayer by doing Ranger multiclassed with Rogue.)

In fact, this basically allows ALL of the Hybrid classes.
Arcanist? Sorcerer multiclassed with Wizard.
Brawler? Monk multiclassed with Fighter.
Investigator? Alchemist multiclassed with Rogue.
And on down the line. :)


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WHOA WHOA. I can be a mystic theurge rather quickly? Like a Cleric of Nethys and then take Wizard Dedication? Awesome!!!!

I like.


There is no bard multi-class yet


David knott 242 wrote:

We are still over a year away from seeing the multiclass feats for spontaneous casters, unfortunately.

Aww, heck... I’m excited for Bard’s archetype!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Trading feats for what looks to be a stronger version of VMC? I'm intrigued. I hope this successfully enables far more niche builds.

I'm interested to see what will become of the prestige classes that required multiclassing. Well, except I think we already saw that with the Gray Maiden thing.

What about true multiclassing, though? Will that be viable for others?


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QuidEst wrote:
I’m planning on Rogue spending feats to be Bard Lite. Those one-action cantrips sound great, and the main class is giving extra skill feats for customization.

Unfortunately it says they only have cleric, fighter, wizard, and rogue multiclass archetypes in the playtest.


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It'll be interesting to see the difference between, say, a wizard taking rogue and a rogue taking wizard.


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The nonzero dedication cost bugs me. I can't have e.g. a (Pirate Rogue) Cleric until high levels because I need to finish being either a rogue or a pirate first.

Also, RIP sheylinite Bard/Paladins.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
lordcirth wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
Quote:
You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast.
Does this mean martials can't use wands, scrolls, and staves normally?
That seems to be implied. After all, Trinkets were added specifically for martials.

Trinkets were added to be a magical consumable for martials to use in combat, they are nowhere near as nice as wands and scrolls.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Have they defined what an 'activity" is?

The blog says: " You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity"


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Does Rogue multi class have dex to damage as an option? That might be too good for a dex monk to pass up.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bardarok wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
Quote:
You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast.
Does this mean martials can't use wands, scrolls, and staves normally?
I'm hoping it just costs a skill feat in arcana/religion/divine/occultisim.

If it costs a skill feat I should hope that it allows them to use all magical items.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Tangent101 wrote:
The problem with it is it limits the classes you can multiclass... and encourages people to play classes such as Bard, Alchemist, or Ranger and then take the Multiclass Archetype to get a core class.

From what I am reading the limited multiclass archetypes are for the playtest book only, and they expect to have all of the core classes' multiclass archetypes sorted out for the actual CRB release.


Grumpus wrote:

Have they defined what an 'activity" is?

The blog says: " You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity"

It's a generic term for a multi-action thing. Casting a two-action spell is an activity. The Fighter's Sudden Charge where you move twice your speed and strike is a two action activity.

EDIT: From the all about actions blog "Many of the classes can teach you specific activities that take two more actions to perform. The fighter, for example, has a feat that you can select called Sudden Charge, which costs two actions but lets you to move twice your speed and attack once, allowing fighters to get right into the fray!"

Paizo Employee Designer

18 people marked this as a favorite.
GM Andrew wrote:

WHOA WHOA. I can be a mystic theurge rather quickly? Like a Cleric of Nethys and then take Wizard Dedication? Awesome!!!!

I like.

Yes, mystic theurge, eldritch knight, and the like are super easy to do and you keep full progression! You could also make some kind of hierophant nature priest that's Druid/Cleric combo (double Wisdom dependency!)

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
The Sideromancer wrote:

The nonzero dedication cost bugs me. I can't have e.g. a (Pirate Rogue) Cleric until high levels because I need to finish being either a rogue or a pirate first.

Also, RIP sheylinite Bard/Paladins.

The lack of multiclassing for the other classes is just a space saving measure. Unless the explosion on the forums that this is sure to cause dissuades them from doing this, all of them are going to be in the next one, and probably they're going to be releasing multi-class archetypes as they release classes.


I'm coming around to this idea, I think. I like that you can potentially stack multiple multiclassing archetypes, and I like the flexibility of picking what class features you want from your secondary class.

I'm really interested to see what a multiclassed Sorcerer and Wizard would look like! The ability to mix multiple caster classes effectively is very interesting.


Grumpus wrote:

Have they defined what an 'activity" is?

The blog says: " You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity"

I noticed that too, and am very curious.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This looks a lot like some archetypes that I proposed in starfinder. I like that the modular system allows this to work even better.


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eh. Not my cup of tea but it looks interesting nonetheless.


(I think it would be a Druid with 8th level Cleric and Wizard spells?)

The fact that 8th level casting is available twice means you can take the feat for one and still get your capstone in a high-level game!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Moro wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
The problem with it is it limits the classes you can multiclass... and encourages people to play classes such as Bard, Alchemist, or Ranger and then take the Multiclass Archetype to get a core class.
From what I am reading the limited multiclass archetypes are for the playtest book only, and they expect to have all of the core classes' multiclass archetypes sorted out for the actual CRB release.

Except it would make sense for us to playtest all the multiclass archetypes. Otherwise you could get unintended results.

If there will be multiclass archetypes for all classes, then it will be added as a PDF addendum during the playtest after we've done some work playing with the multiclass system. Otherwise it'll hold off for another book... assuming they even do that, seeing that even just doing the Core Four Classes you end up with some powerful choices including the ability to emulate almost every Hybrid Class out there.

Shadow Lodge

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I'm very disappointed that this is the direction 2e has chosen to go.

Multi-classing was one of the most interesting and skill-expressive mechanics in 1e, allowing players to create a character that's both unique and wholly their own. Reducing such mechanics to a handful of pre-defined packages is a massive loss for everyone who enjoyed the customization of 1e. If anything is reverted in playtesting, I hope this is it.


Grumpus wrote:

Have they defined what an 'activity" is?

The blog says: " You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity"

I assume it's for the exploration or downtime portions of the rules. So you could say... spend downtime constructing your demiplane or consecrating the ruined ground around the Worldwound or something.


Well, I can at least make an alchemist/wizard for the playtest. I'm very, very, very sad I will be unable to play a rogue/bard as I doubt a bard/rogue will have the options I want [or the skill feats].


Seems like it will pretty straight forward to create my thergue. It will take a significant dedication of resources to get the cleric-wizard I envision. At least it is possible without needing a new class or prestige class.


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Multiclassing moving to VCM has been expected for some time, so not a shocker. I like that you can be as much or as little Wizard that you wish. Part of VCM was that you had to take the whole package and with this that isn't necessary. Thursday can't come soon enough.


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The Sideromancer wrote:
Also, RIP sheylinite Bard/Paladins.

They didn't say there will only ever be four multiclass archetypes, just for the playtest.

Paizo Employee Designer

26 people marked this as a favorite.
Moro wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
The problem with it is it limits the classes you can multiclass... and encourages people to play classes such as Bard, Alchemist, or Ranger and then take the Multiclass Archetype to get a core class.
From what I am reading the limited multiclass archetypes are for the playtest book only, and they expect to have all of the core classes' multiclass archetypes sorted out for the actual CRB release.

If you guys are finding these as flexible and effective as our playtesters so far, you can expect all twelve to appear in the CRB, yeah. The bard in my playtest game is loving spending only on feat on fighter dedication to get proficiency in martial weapons and all three categories of armor. Handy!


10 people marked this as a favorite.

Whatever this system's other pros and cons may be (and it does look pretty good all round), I'm extremely happy that multiclass spellcasters are now totally viable.


The Sideromancer wrote:

The nonzero dedication cost bugs me. I can't have e.g. a (Pirate Rogue) Cleric until high levels because I need to finish being either a rogue or a pirate first.

Also, RIP sheylinite Bard/Paladins.

How many of these have you seen? I am fascinated about the build idea and would like to hear more...


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I really liked the concept of the Mystic Theurge, Eldritch Knight, and Arcane Trickster in 3, 3.5, and Pathfinder, but in practice they always seemed to suck, because the spellcasting fell so far behind.

This sounds like it could fix that problem. I plan to put the rules to use extensively in the playtest.

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