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Dipity doo-dah... How much of a "dip" are you?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Level 3 drug-addicted witch - gravewalker archetype, very good stats, focused primarily on intelligence, charisma and dexterity. Has cauldron, evil eye, cackle and prehensile hair hexes. Mostly likes to avoid physical combat.

I'm currently playing a Trickster Witch with similar stats and hexes that went with a 2-level Rogue dip. (She actually started as a Rogue for RP reasons, but the plan was always to be primarily Witch.) The reason I did that was to get a little more melee ability and a *lot* more skills. She's got slightly less combat ability than if she'd gone straight Witch, but in non-combat situations she shines very brightly.

As a class combination, the dip might work even better the other way around -- Prehensile Hair is an awesome situational ability for a Rogue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
ulgulanoth wrote:
Personally I love multiclassing, all by builds have at least 2 classes, but my players don't tend to, and usually stick to one class all the way

I distinguish between true multi-classing where you're actually exploring each class and dipping where you take a second class for just one mechanical benefit and hardly play it otherwise.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Zerombr wrote:
PhelanArcetus wrote:
In the game before that, another player wanted to be a paladin, but the class was banned,
Why was Paladin banned?

Doesn't fit the setting. Likewise monk was banned.

Absolutely nothing to do with power levels, just to do with what makes sense in the setting.

In the follow-up campaign, this has been better detailed; classes options by region are specified, as well as a complete list of available prestige classes & feats (though there have been additions since the document was created).


I do tend to dip a fair amount, it is whatever it takes to make the character concept I have be matched by the totality of the mechanics that represent him. If I am making the greatest duelist in the world who is combing fighting techniques into one blended style then I think a Fighter 1+(Aldori Swordlord)/Monk 2 (Hungry Ghost, Master of Many Forms, Monk of the Sacred Mountain) fits in beautifully... even with it's crazy amount of archetypes.

Admittedly, it is much less likely that it will enhance your character to dip with a caster. But there are certainly cases where it makes sense. A case might be a wizard who dips into sorcerer to take certain bloodlines that significantly increase the DC's of his spells in a certain school. It's always at the cost of a level of spell progression though, so it can be a tough choice... but if you are making the ultimate enchanter guy, then a +4 DC to your enchantment spells may be worth one level slower access to those spells.

In my experience, it also tends to be non-casters dipping into caster classes when they are both involved. It is a big deal to open up a spell list for wand use (for example). Or in other cases, like a Barbarian 8 / Oracle 1, losing a deficit of the class is a huge deal (you can get an effect that makes you no longer able to be fatigued... like when you stop raging).

Another example of when dipping just makes sense is early access into feats or prestige classes that are the core focus of your character. Maybe you are happy with straight Barbarian but looking at things you could dip 1 lvl of fighter and get that next feat in the chain you use the most 2 levels sooner due to feat requirements. That *could* be worth loss of rage power progression, slightly less HP, a round less rage, etc. Just depends on the situation.

Typically dipping is going to be about either A) shoring up a glaring weakness in the build ("I keep getting dominated!!!") or B) improving on a specific aspect of the build.

In some cases that could make them more diverse in their skill set, but more often than not it makes them better at what they are already doing... which is fine in my book... you WANT to RP a character who is good at what he does (unless the concept specifically calls for him not to).

You mentioned briefly that the PC is giving up the boost of the favored class, and that is 100% typically (half elves being an obvious example where it is not the case on the first dip). It is really important when you are looking at a dip that you look at what you are losing as well as what you are gaining and answer the question, "is it worth it?" Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

I will take a look at your specific examples and see what I think. Keep in mind, dipping is not ALWAYS good... it just can be good sometimes, so it is a good tool in the ol' character building tool box.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Level 8 archer druid - lion shaman archetype, average stats focused on wisdom and dexterity. Besides using a bow, she mostly enjoys blaster type spells. Not really much of a summoner or wild-shaper.

I am not likely to dip in this case. If I were it would likely be for early access into a feat that can significantly improve my archery skills. So I would be looking at fighter, ranger, and monk. Each has archetypes that might improve my archery and even have some good synergies. Still, unless you are feeling feat starved or really want some archery combat tricks, I don't see a dip here as all that good.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Level 3 drug-addicted witch - gravewalker archetype, very good stats, focused primarily on intelligence, charisma and dexterity. Has cauldron, evil eye, cackle and prehensile hair hexes. Mostly likes to avoid physical combat.

The only real potential dip that comes to mind here would be sorcerer. It would open up the spell list for magic item use (probably not a big deal and UMD is a class skill for witch anyway), but bloodlines could be used to increase save DC's potentially. Not sure it is really worth it though, and I haven't looked into how the bloodlines would interact with the DCs on hexes (guessing they wouldn't?).

So another case where dipping is probably not the way to go... again, not a huge shock on a primary caster.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Level 14 archer ranger - has hippogriff mount/companion. Dragon slayer specialist. Favorite tactic is to rain death from on high while riding his hippogriff.

Again, unless you are feeling feat starved (you are past most of the points where this is likely once you are at this level though... so early access isn't really an issue... and ranger got early access to the good archery stuff anyway), or you are wanting some of the archery tricks that other classes have (like the fighter's archer archetype can trip and pin and what not from range), I can't see dipping being fantastic for you here. You have a focus, and the class you have uses that focus well.

Anyway... I think the point really is that thinking that people ALWAYS dip or should NEVER dip, isn't really a good way to go. Just keeping dipping open as an option though gives you one more tool from the rules that lets you build the character you want to build. You won't always use all of the tools, but having them means you won't be wanting as often when you have ideas for a character.

Also, if you would like more specific thoughts on dipping and what class is good for what, take a listen to the The Gamers' Guide to Dipping. It's one of earlier episodes, so it isn't as good a quality IMHO as our later episodes can be, but it is spot on topic here.

Sean Mahoney

Silver Crusade

Are you a lawful good character, have low AC, horrible saves, and a high CHA? THEN YOU'RE IN LUCK! Just dip in two levels of the patented Paladin formula, and you'll be shrugging off physical attacks and magical effects like the dickens!


The ability to level dip is one of my favorite advances from the 'olden days'.

We've had many games where a player began play at 1st level, and then, in response to the activities the group was doing, found that he liked the idea of taking other class options to round out his ability to respond to the types of challenges we faced.

Example one... the front-liner Half-Orc barbarian noticed that most of our 'jobs' seemed to involve sneaking through a trap laden maze to defeat our enemies, which we always seemed to be flanking and tactically overwhelming in combat. He happily dipped into Rogue for the sneak attack, reflex saves and skill points he seemed to be desperately lacking.

Example two... my Kobold Bard (loved that character) found out that his crossbow was neigh useless as our large party of casters and archers has no ability to protect the 'squishies' when only one character was playing a front-liner. Embracing the monstrous side of his nature, the Bard became a Bard-barian, and would become possessed of a frightening rage in combat (his songs took on a much angrier and more violent nature). He ended up being a fantastic frontliner for that party despite his 8 str.

Moreover... The main reason that I like dipping and love that it is an option, is that I get to design my own character concept in my head, and make the game rules conform to it, rather than trying to come up with a concept that struggles to fit in one pre-determined silo of statistics. If I want to play a pious backstabber, or have a bard that claims to be and carries himself as a paladin, or a Militaristic sorcerer or wizard, I love the fact that the games rules support that option.

If that puts me behind someone's arbitrary concept of what a character 'could' be doing or capable of at a certain level I say they are missing the point. The point is that the character was fun to play and survivable through its entire life, not is able to cast 'X' by level 'Y'.


I think level dipping usually spoils the game by creating characters that don't have anything to do with anything. If the campaign actually leads a character to change the sort of person he is, I think it is ok.

One of my players' characters started as a level 1 halfling rogue and then proceeded to gain 7 levels of cleric of healing and deception. While the conventional wisdom of not giving up a level of casting for anything is usually true, his character has been effective. His high stat is dex, and as he leveled he focus on perception, stealth, and AC. His armor class is around 32 while buffed up, and he spends most combats standing right infront of the spear paladin healing him and fighting defensively. Together, they are practically unkillable. His spell list is usually all no spells and protection - invisibility purge, pro evil, heroism, dispel magic... He's basically the ultimate support.


There are tons of character NPCs with multiple classes. Is dipping effective in Pathfinder? Sometimes. Does it cause your character to be less roleplayable... I dont think so. People change professions all the time in real life.

I certainly have. Salesmen, Waiter, Medical professional, and now I work in Computer Technology as a member of the military.

Try stating me up with one class I dare ya.


I think that hard-right-turn, unplanned for dipping can create characters that feel odd, but if you've planned to dip ahead of time, you can build it into the character from the beginning. A fighter who takes a level of monk doesn't have to look like a gritty, spitting soldier who seeks out monastic training for no obvious story reason, spends a year in a Shaolin monastery and emerges with some bonus feats and stuff. Even if you have a super rigid view of class flavor and think that every character with a monk level is an orange-clad monastic, you can produce much less jarring flavor by designing the character from the beginning as someone whose personality and training suggests fighter/monk; the monk level taken later simply represents his side interests in monkery fruitioning to the point that they're represented by a full class level. Level dipping does create a slightly weird flavor if you see every class as this hyper-rigid discrete career track that has nothing to do with any of the others, where taking a level in another class represents a full career change, rather than building blocks to be used to assemble something that works mechanically how you want it to work, but even then it can be massaged around with planning.

Dark Archive

Dragonamedrake wrote:


I certainly have. Salesmen, Waiter, Medical professional, and now I work in Computer Technology as a member of the military.

Try stating me up with one class I dare ya.

Expert. Done.

Rogue, if you insist on a PC class...

;)

Personally, dipping is lost on me, but that's usually because the features I like tend not to appear in the first 1 or 2 levels of a class.


Dragonamedrake wrote:

There are tons of character NPCs with multiple classes. Is dipping effective in Pathfinder? Sometimes. Does it cause your character to be less roleplayable... I dont think so. People change professions all the time in real life.

I certainly have. Salesmen, Waiter, Medical professional, and now I work in Computer Technology as a member of the military.

Try stating me up with one class I dare ya.

Ranger. Though I am also pro-dipping. :P

The Exchange

I often mix, not always just a level or two dip, in all non-casters. Casters i very rarely dip, though my synthesist might take a barb level for speed boost

Shadow Lodge

I'm part of a minority: I have a yet to play a single classed character other than a few first level PFS ones. The longest I've ever stayed in one class was a cleric of Sarenrae for 8 levels. Ended up taking a single level of Cavalier for the class skills(bit of a diplomat character) and heavy armor+vestigial mount and finished the level progression with a homebrewed conversion of the Sacred Servant prestige class.

Other than that character, all my other ones have rather branched off to more varied career paths by 3rd level rather than staying in a single class any longer. Notably, ranger 3/fighter 1/barb 1, rogue 1/alchemist 11/fighter 1 and bard 1/barbarian 2. Of these only the ranger one was a power accruement thing. Bit of a necessity, since he was underperforming all the time thanks to being built in 3.5 before Society started to use the PF rules. And built by a less than competent player as well - me 5 years ago!

The rest, like many others have mentioned as their reason in this thread, were either experimental things, organically fleshed out or built on a whim. Bardbarian originated as a skald-like character, but as she tanked more and more each session, taking a few levels of urban barbarian just felt right.

The alchemist clusterluck is my Serpent's Skull character and has been built as anything but a powerhouse. Sometimes a skill monkey, oftentimes a tank, his career path necessitated starting as a rogue thanks to originating from an earlier campaign and he has just now started to come across a wealth of powerful martial weapons which he can't use properly so some heavy lifting has been in order. The only significant loss in power so far has been the postponement of greater mutagen, a deficit that has so far been largely remedied by being able to use a certain bane weapon. I don't mind missing 5th level spells, since there's no magic mart available and actually getting to know some could be difficult.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Volkspanzer wrote:
Are you a lawful good character, have low AC, horrible saves, and a high CHA? THEN YOU'RE IN LUCK! Just dip in two levels of the patented Paladin formula, and you'll be shrugging off physical attacks and magical effects like the dickens!

Ah, but why do I have to be LG for this? Last time I checked, CE worked quite as well...

This having been said; yes, I dip as well, more often than not for character reasons, mechanics be damned.

Do I have to streamline my char to an optimum build, all with purple equipment, to be eligible for joining a rai... sorry, an adventure? If so, sorry; I don't think I'll have much fun at your table.


Volkspanzer wrote:
Are you a lawful good character, have low AC, horrible saves, and a high CHA? THEN YOU'RE IN LUCK! Just dip in two levels of the patented Paladin formula, and you'll be shrugging off physical attacks and magical effects like the dickens!

I have a Geisha-Bard originally inspired by the Firefly character Inara Serra who did exactly that, dipped Paladin (Sacred Shield) and it suited the character perfectly.


Mercurial wrote:
Volkspanzer wrote:
Are you a lawful good character, have low AC, horrible saves, and a high CHA? THEN YOU'RE IN LUCK! Just dip in two levels of the patented Paladin formula, and you'll be shrugging off physical attacks and magical effects like the dickens!
I have a Geisha-Bard originally inspired by the Firefly character Inara Serra who did exactly that, dipped Paladin (Sacred Shield) and it suited the character perfectly.

Since most of my good characters tend to act like Paladins, I probably should dip Paladin more often than I do. XD


I think druids benefit from fighter, barbarian, or ranger depending on where they want to go with their character. Even a druid with some levels in rogue could do some heinous damage with a sneak attack whilst in elemental form. Personally I would take 1 level of fighter at lvl 13 so I could have access to ironwood full plate and a great sword O.O!!!


mahasuke wrote:
I think druids benefit from fighter, barbarian, or ranger depending on where they want to go with their character. Even a druid with some levels in rogue could do some heinous damage with a sneak attack whilst in elemental form. Personally I would take 1 level of fighter at lvl 13 so I could have access to ironwood full plate and a great sword O.O!!!

Druid/Monk was popular in 3.x; though wild shaping was better in those days. Basically, multi-attack, and you get an unarmed strike routine plus lots of natural weapons, and you get your amulet of mighty fists which apply to your unarmed strikes and natural attacks, and the monk's Wisdom to AC is/was nice for the druid who lost the benefits of armor during a wild shape (but not the monk AC bonus); and given that druids generally have decent Wisdoms (more so in 3.x, where they could rely on Wild Shape for physical stats), it improved their AC noticeably.


Ashiel wrote:
Dragonamedrake wrote:

There are tons of character NPCs with multiple classes. Is dipping effective in Pathfinder? Sometimes. Does it cause your character to be less roleplayable... I dont think so. People change professions all the time in real life.

I certainly have. Salesmen, Waiter, Medical professional, and now I work in Computer Technology as a member of the military.

Try stating me up with one class I dare ya.

Ranger. Though I am also pro-dipping. :P

How is a ranger a salesman? lol but I see your point. Im just saying you can make a legit roleplay character with dipping. In some cases you need to dip in order to flesh out a character.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

What does a salesman require that a Ranger does not have?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
What does a salesman require that a Ranger does not have?

I dont have my books but do they get diplomacy or bluff? Not that Im very good at either so I might have just made your point. I was a horrible salesman lol.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

No, but he gets Favored Enemy, which adds a scaling bonus to his Bluff and Sense Motive rolls against his most common customers. ;) Which can quickly be much larger than the +3 Class skill bonus he misses out on.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
What does a salesman require that a Ranger does not have?
I dont have my books but do they get diplomacy or bluff? Not that Im very good at either so I might have just made your point. I was a horrible salesman lol.

Rangers generally have a +1 to +2 Wisdom naturally. That makes them decent at doing a variety of jobs without being a professional, as they have a +2 in Profession (any). Either way, they have 6 + Int modifier skill points, so they can be trained in a lot of different things as desired. The fact ranger is also a martial character takes care of military training.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I need to roll paladin more.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I need to roll paladin more.

They're really cool if your GM isn't a tool. :P


In our group, dipping is rare. Our alchemist took 2 levels of rogue, and I have an oracle cohort with one level of Harrower (and no plans to take further levels in that prestige class). Everyone else is single-classed.

The party cleric looked over possible prestige classes but ultimately decided that his domain benefits were better than what any prestige class could give him. The party witch will not take a class that does not give out hexes. The party summoner will not take a class that does not advance his eidolon. I am not sure about the party wizard's plans -- he plays with us only intermittently. The melee types in the party seem to be quite happy with whatever their next level in their original class gives them.

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