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


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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One of the things that I read frequently on multiple threads are comments like "Oh, you want to be a more powerful XXXXX? No problem, a two-level dip into monk-barbarian will fix that problem right up!"

What I am wondering is how common it is for actual players in actual campaigns with actual characters attempting to remain at level appropriate strength with their party members to do this sort of dip-de-dip to get a specific ability instead of continuing on with their existing likely favored classes.

It feels to me like level dipping is the sort of thing that happens when you are creating a higher level character from scratch.

But even so, a two level dip into another class is always going to slow down the progression towards just about any class skills except perhaps feats and, in some cases, BAB.

Do people in active campaigns actually take a side trip down monkdom just to gain a few bonuses to saving throws? Or is this really more of a theoretical or academic exercise that just seems cool, but nobody playing from level 1 through level 20 ever actually does it?


I really do dip sometimes in gameplay, and perhaps even more often than when I theory build, where I am more often trying to milk the most out of a certain class.

For me, dipping is less about powerbuilding and more about rounding out a character based on the needs of the campaign.

For example, I'm in a campaign where I am playing a sorcerer who just took a 1 level dip into ranger. Theorycraft wise, that's usually a silly thing to do unless maybe I'm going for Eldritch Knight or Arcane Archer (but then theorycraft wise the optimizers will also tell me that's a stupid thing to do).

But here's the thing--it's a fairly unique campaign, where the GM required all of us to be primarily wizards or sorcerers (we have 3 sorcerers and 1 wizard). We were in a situation where we were challenged to avoid spamming magic, and using low level magic in creative ways. And the situation also involved a lot of wilderness travel, fighting wild animals, tracking things, etc. etc. My character rolled good stats overall and isn't horrible fighting with weapons, and indeed ended up doing a lot of melee and ranged weapon combat despite being a sorcerer.

So much so that in the end, I felt like by the time we'd leveled, I felt she'd been focusing on training her martial expertise and wilderness survival skills---and much less focusing on her magic. It made a lot of sense based on her playing that she'd take a ranger level (she also had NPC rangers nearby to give her extra pointers if needed). Mechanically, I felt I could use the +1 to BAB and the class skills (Knowledge: Geography, Perception, and Survival in particular), and favored enemy didn't hurt either (and made sense also given the situation they were in). Even the armor proficiency is nice--I don't mind a little arcane spell failure at times (at least if I'd remember to roll it). Optimally, I still should have taken sorcerer to gain a spell level and improve my bloodline abilities, but I really felt this made more sense for the circumstances.

In another campaign recently I had another character--a fighter--ALSO dip into ranger for similar reasons (in this one, given gaps in the party skill base, she became essentially the party's scout; mechanically also gave me access to TWF without having a high Dex so I could do a sword-and-board build I wanted to do with that character, but previously the die rolls I rolled would not accommodate).

Dips into rogue, ranger, and fighter are in particular common for me to get combat abilities and class skills and the like that seem appropriate based on how I play the character. I don't do it for every character but it's great to have the option to be able to round out the character's skills.


My party's witch and rogue decided to seek monk teacher and get a level of the monk just for the sake of Wisdom bonus to AC and saving throw bonuses (I altered Witch to use Wisdom as their primary ability, instead of Intelligence). The rogue died before he could multiclass but the witch found a teacher and started her training. When the leveling time came (from 4th to 5th) she backed off, deciding that she prefers to get access to third level spells, flying from the hex and additional d8 of healing from another hex to the increased AC. The dwarven monk that trained her shrug his shoulders saying that he expected her to fail to enter the path of self-perfection anyway as she was not adamant in her conviction to do so and left.


Personally in my campaign I do it quite often. The 1 lvl dip into sorcerer with the cross blooded archetype followed by wizard is incredibly powerful, until 20th level where the capstone will outshine it. Adding Barbarian to a fighter is incredibly good, and I've done that as well.

Planning ahead is part of this game, if you follow your character plan, dipping can be incredibly beneficial even if he is a level or two behind the full classes.

That being said I find the melee classes a lot easier to dip than the spell casting classes in actual gameplay, and do it a lot more with them than with casters.

Cheliax

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

Qadira

I can only think of once that I did this in a real game. I was a gnome bard and I dipped into fighter because I was getting my butt kicked on a regular basis, so I decided to spend some time learning to fight. I went back to bard after 2 levels.

This isn't taking into account characters that were intended to be multi-class from the start or ones that I'd take a level in something else to qualify for a prestige class.


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I can see where dipping is potentially more of a gain than a loss for combat characters whose most important ability is BAB. Spellcasters are really where I find it difficult to imagine dipping.

Perhaps it is just that my currently active Pathfinder characters are a druid and a witch, and because of that I don't see much gain in dipping.

If I were playing a melee character I might see dipping a little differently.

Still, nobody in our party ever dips.

Ever.


Personally, I dip all the time.

I wanted to make my own version of the paladin, which basically had more spells. So, I was a Dwarf with Cleric 6/Fighter 1. I did it to gain and extra feat, tower shield and Full Plate Armor. I then ran around the battlefield soaking up attacks of opportunity, healing, and throwing spells around.

Any Melee character would do well to take a 1 level dip into Barbarian for boss battle awesomeness.

I often consider taking a single dip into rogue, for class skill bonuses and sneak attack, as well as the ability to fiddle with magical traps.

One might want to consider taking a dip into ranger to get the Favored enemy bonus if the campaign they are in seems to be loaded with orcs or goblins or something.

Finally, I could see the possible advantages of taking one level of Wizard or Druid. Being able to scout ahead with an expendable companion is kind of useful, and if you could cast true strike you might find some interesting combat maneuver capabilities.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My rogues and rangers often take lvl 1 as fighter in order to be able to take feats that require a +1 bab from the get-go. Sure, that hurts the ranger's spells and companion, but the spells aren't the primary reason for my rangers in the first place.

Andoran

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I dip when appropriate for the character concept, though I rarely plan ahead if the character starts at 1st level.

I view my characters as organic, who level up based on their experience. Didn't use a skill during a campaign? I'm not going to add a rank. Started praying fervently to a deity because of a near-TPK? Add a level of cleric when leveling, if its fits.

Planning ahead for a character can fit if the character has an idea of what they want to achieve. But things change, and experiences change perceptions and goals.

So, I respectfully disagree that planning ahead is part of this game. It can be, but that's a player perspective, not an absolute.

So, what have I dipped in?

-Rogue for the sneak attack and skill points. Often added to my sorcerers and fighters.
-Oracle or cleric for flavor/RP, minor healing and domains.
-Ranger for favored enemy when a particular campaign has regular antagonist race. Ranger skill points, BAB, weapon profs and flavor often help round out an arcane caster character.
-I had a neat concept of 1 level of Gunslinger and then progressed as Monk.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

One of the things that I read frequently on multiple threads are comments like "Oh, you want to be a more powerful XXXXX? No problem, a two-level dip into monk-barbarian will fix that problem right up!"

How does Barb 2 help?

I can see Monk 2 (master of Many Styles) or Fighter 3 (weapon Master) + gloves of dueling, but how does Barb 2 help (1 rage power?)


Starbuck_II wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

One of the things that I read frequently on multiple threads are comments like "Oh, you want to be a more powerful XXXXX? No problem, a two-level dip into monk-barbarian will fix that problem right up!"

How does Barb 2 help?

I can see Monk 2 (master of Many Styles) or Fighter 3 (weapon Master) + gloves of dueling, but how does Barb 2 help (1 rage power?)

It was a random demonstration, not an actual example. I could just as well have said "witch/rogue". By "two level dip" I was actually referring to one level each of monk and barbarian.

As I am not a level dipper, I really have no clue what dips actually provide any value.

If dipping requires TWO levels of a class to have a benefit, that really just makes me more confused as to why someone would intentionally gimp their character for an entire level. In my games a level increase can take months of real life time.

Andoran

I dip in pretty much every character I play, even full progression casters. I like my characters to be versatile.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Matthias_DM wrote:
I could see the possible advantages of taking one level of Wizard or Druid. Being able to scout ahead with an expendable companion is kind of useful, and if you could cast true strike you might find some interesting combat maneuver capabilities.

I did precisely that with my current non-PFS character (although I try not to consider Pouncer as expendable :-). True strike and shield can be pretty handy at low levels, and on those occasions when you don't have a front-line arcane caster in the party having Detect Magic can help you find that +1 sword hidden in the pile of rusty weapons. Message is another good cantrip for a scout to have available.

I'd think taking a single level of Ranger to get Favored Enemy (Human) could be worthwhile at early levels, too: +2 on attack, damage, bluff & sense motive rolls is not to be sneezed at.

If you're running a high-level campaign, the cost of being one or two levels behind a single-class character can be prohibitive. But at lower levels the gain in versatility can make level dipping a much more attractive proposition.

I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming "Paths of Prestige" accessory; the right prestige class can sometimes offer benefits akin to those from a level dip while still retaining some of the gains of single-classing.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

If dipping requires TWO levels of a class to have a benefit, that really just makes me more confused as to why someone would intentionally gimp their character for an entire level. In my games a level increase can take months of real life time.

It isn't gimp, the 1st level of Monk is still decent. But the second level provides more benefit (you want Tiger Pounce? I know you do so Power Attack never has an attack penalty. Wait, you wanted Dragon Style so you can charge difficult terrian? Crane for better Fighting Defensively? Janni for better Charge/flank, double damage Charge?? Sense Motive for AC like Tome of Battle? ).

And in the dipping Fighter case you still get bonus feats, so not worthless.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

If dipping requires TWO levels of a class to have a benefit, that really just makes me more confused as to why someone would intentionally gimp their character for an entire level. In my games a level increase can take months of real life time.

It isn't gimp, the 1st level of Monk is still decent. But the second level provides more benefit (you want Tiger Pounce? I know you do so Power Attack never has an attack penalty. Wait, you wanted Dragon Style so you can charge difficult terrian? Crane for better Fighting Defensively? Janni for better Charge/flank, double damage Charge?? Sense Motive for AC like Tome of Battle? ).

And in the dipping Fighter case you still get bonus feats, so not worthless.

I didn't say single class dips were "worthless." I said they are a trade-off and so far I've not found the benefits of a single dip to be competitive with advancing another level in my existing class. Yeah, I get a bonus feat as a fighter. Is that worth delaying my next witch's hex, plus additional spells? That must be some feat.

Why do I want to charge difficult terrain? Is my character concept built around charging difficult terrain? Or is that just something I want to add to my repertoire even though charging in difficult terrain might be something that comes up every fifth encounter? Fighting defensively? I can't say I've got a lot of character concepts built around fighting defensively. Double damage charge? For me to take something like that would generally mean I'm creating a charging concept, and frankly I rarely play characters who invest in a single tactic that much.

But those are examples of the sorts of things I hear as justification for these level dips. "Hey! A +2 wisdom save boost!" Or I could just buy a wand of owl's wisdom and take another level of druid....

I may have to try this just to see how it works, but seriously every time I've investigated dipping, I've come away thinking "why did I want to try that?"


I take a level of another class fairly frequently. In the past few years I've played a monk/dragon disciple (with a level of sorcerer), a cleric (with a level of sorcerer), a cleric (with a level of bard), an alchemist (with a level of barbarian), a druid (with a level of sorcerer), a ranger (with a level of fighter) and a cleric (with a level of barbarian).

I think it adds some flavour.


Feral wrote:
I dip in pretty much every character I play, even full progression casters. I like my characters to be versatile.

Interestingly I don't think single-classing restricts versatility. But then my definition of versatility is not that I can do everything my definition is that I can react effectively to a wide range of situations. The key word there is "effectively."

In fact many of the severely dipped concepts I've seen do not seem to be chasing versatility, instead they seem to be attempting to optimize a narrow range of tactics, like becoming an awesome charger, or maximizing critical hit damage, or doing the most attacks possible. It seems to me to be far more common that these dipped concepts are less versatile, not more versatile.


Dipping was far more usefull in 3.5 then Pathfinder. Pathfinder made it far more attactive to stay in one class. The problem with that is it made prestige classes and dipping less effective. In 3.5 there was usually little reason to stick to the base class and you where much more effective by dipping or prestige classing as soon as possible.

In fact I will show you some of my last few characters in 3.5...

Barbarian 5/Sorc 1/Dragon Disiple 10/Frenzied Berserker 4

Wizard 3/Master Specialist 3/Malconvoker 9/Arch Mage 5

And the Batman build (loved this guy)
WarWizard 1/Rainbow Mage 10/Sacred Servent 1/Prestige Paladin 4/Arch Mage 4

That last one could spontaniously cast as a War Wizard the entire Mage/Cleric/Paladin list lol.

But most of this stuff doesnt work in Pathfinder. Unless you allow 3.5 material in your pathfinder games.


Dragonamedrake, I don't really see prestige classes as "dipping". Maybe I'm not seeing things the right way.

To me "dipping" is when you've got a basic class but you "dip" into another class for what is perceived to be some compelling benefit.

Your first example appears to me to be a multi-classed barbarian/dragon disciple/frenzeid berserker with a one level "dip" of sorcerer. Probably to get "true strike" or something like that, plus cantrips maybe...

How does your last "batman" build have access to the "entire mage/cleric/paladidn list"? Are you including all ninth level spells? Including ninth level cleric spells? (By the way, if that is true, then to me that's just a wonderful example of how 3.5 was just totally friggin' broken beyond all hope of repair.)


Dipping can add versatility, such as adding a level of wizard with the admixture sub-school, or it can hyper specialize your character, adding rage from barbarian to your already formidable two-handed fighter. Based on your planned out build, it can strengthen your character quite a bit while minimizing the push back of class abilities.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Just about every character I play has a dip or two. The rare exceptions are casters that I want to keep at full spellcasting.

In actual play, I had a cleric dip ninja for Wis to AC, and a scout dip paladin of freedom for the immunities.

Osirion

I usually prefer playing single or dual-classed characters, perhaps with a single prestige class. I did have one long-term character that worked his way up as a Scout/Human Paragon/Monk/Order of the Bow Initiate. But all of those decisions came about in game as he quested to become the world's greatest hunter. Sadly, I retired him as the campaign moved on to a region far removed from his hunting grounds. I like to think he is still out there, jumping out of trees to punch arrows into the faces of unsuspecting goblins.


Never dipped in PF. I did it in 3.5 only when my character concept demanded it.


If I had to make just a total shot-in-the-dark estimate, I'd say maybe one in four characters played by players I DM for have a dip taken primarily for mechanical purposes (as opposed to the LSM "I kind of think of my monk as being a naturey dude, so I'm going to take a random level of druid with very little concern for how and in what direction that affects my character's power" dip.) As other people have mentioned, martial dips are probably most common, especially monk, although crossblooded sorcerer shows up a bit too because that's a crazily dip-friendly archetype. Inquisitor is also something that I like that I feel doesn't get a lot of credit; you can get just a huge pile of stuff from Inquisitor 1, especially with the Spellbreaker archetype.


OK then, just for the sake of argument, not that I am likely to actually dip any of my characters, what dip would work best for the following characters on their next level up, and why?

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.

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.

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

The druid and witch are active PF characters and have leveled as PF characters. The ranger is a 3.5 conversion that I've never actually played in a PF game yet.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Dragonamedrake, I don't really see prestige classes as "dipping". Maybe I'm not seeing things the right way.

To me "dipping" is when you've got a basic class but you "dip" into another class for what is perceived to be some compelling benefit.

Your first example appears to me to be a multi-classed barbarian/dragon disciple/frenzeid berserker with a one level "dip" of sorcerer. Probably to get "true strike" or something like that, plus cantrips maybe...

How does your last "batman" build have access to the "entire mage/cleric/paladidn list"? Are you including all ninth level spells? Including ninth level cleric spells? (By the way, if that is true, then to me that's just a wonderful example of how 3.5 was just totally friggin' broken beyond all hope of repair.)

Sorry I think of Dipping as taking a base or prestige class for a few levels and then leaving for another class... but I guess it doesnt matter either way.

I took the 1 level dip in Sorc for access to the 3.5 Dragon Disiple. It also gave me true strike and shield.

As for the Batman build. It was a popular build from another OP board. You take the first level of Warwizard. Warwizards know their entire list from level 1. They just cant cast them yet. I know it makes little sense but thats how it works. They dont have spells known... they know their entire list from first to ninth level spells... its just a very limited list.

I dont have access to my books but through taking 4 feats (required you to be human with 2 flaws) you could cast one cantrip hightened to 2nd that counted as a 3rd level spell. That gave you access to Rainbow Servent at level 2(Required you to be able to cast 3rd level arcane spells).

At tenth level in Rainbow Servent you gain access to the entire cleric list of spells... for most this is ok(Sorcs can choose spells known from the cleric list ect.), but for a Warwizard that knows his whole list... well bingo bango... he just learned the entire cleric list and can spontanously cast them. As a bonus any spell not on the arcane list is considered A DIVINE SPELL. So now your a divine caster too.

You take a Single level of Sacred Servent(I think thats the name). It gives +1 level of casting bla bla... and gives you Turn Undead.

Now you can turn undead, and you cast divine spells... so you can take Prestige Paladin... Bingo Bango... you just got Paladin Spell access and now know its entire list.

Here is where it gets good. So you loose two caster levels from taking 4 levels of Prestige paladin... but with 4 levels you can take a very specific feat... Sword of the Arcane Order... which gives Paladins.... access to all wizard spells. Now again for a paladin this just means they can memorize arcane spells (and they only get up to 4th level spells), but for you!!!.... Bing Bango... you just got the whole wizard/Sorc list added to your list.

Wizard/Cleric/Paladin spells all in one bundle.
O did I mention that your a CHA caster and you got 4 levels of Paladin... How about them saves!
And for all that you loose... 2 caster levels.

God I miss 3.5!

Andoran

Of my actual characters I have:

Summoner 8 (going straight summoner)
Vitalist 6 (going straight vitalist)
Wilder 1 (going straight wilder)
Taskshaper 1 (going straight taskshaper)

And a barbarian 1 / inquisitor 1 who will be going Barbarian 2 / Inquisitor 18.

So roughly 20%.


Dragonamedrake wrote:


As for the Batman build. It was a popular build from another OP board. You take the first level of Warwizard. Warwizards know their entire list from level 1. They just cant cast them yet. I know it makes little sense but thats how it works. They dont have spells known... they know their entire list from first to ninth level spells... its just a very limited list.

Warmage, not WarWizard, is a Complete Arcane class.

Quote:


I dont have access to my books but through taking 4 feats (required you to be human with 2 flaws) you could cast one cantrip hightened to 2nd that counted as a 3rd level spell. That gave you access to Rainbow Servent at level 2(Required you to be able to cast 3rd level arcane spells).

Requires Races of the Dragon and Complete Divine to accomplish.

Quote:


At tenth level in Rainbow Servent you gain access to the entire cleric list of spells... for most this is ok(Sorcs can choose spells known from the cleric list ect.), but for a Warwizard that knows his whole list... well bingo bango... he just learned the entire cleric list and can spontanously...

Again, Warmage.


I've found that on paper, level dipping looks good. However, when it comes right down to it, because Paizo did such a good job in revamping the classes, sticking with a single class is always better.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Dragonamedrake wrote:


As for the Batman build. It was a popular build from another OP board. You take the first level of Warwizard. Warwizards know their entire list from level 1. They just cant cast them yet. I know it makes little sense but thats how it works. They dont have spells known... they know their entire list from first to ninth level spells... its just a very limited list.

Warmage, not WarWizard, is a Complete Arcane class.

Ooops you are correct. I dont have my books or builds available. The problem with that build is its very top heavy. For the first 10 levels your a Warmage with the warmage spell list which is horrible. Basicly a glorified evocation specialist that can only cast evocation spells... no shield, no grease, no SM, ect... Very squishy and you deal less damage then a real dps class. It gets better when you gain cleric spells at 11th, and then really starts to shine when you hit 16th of course...

But even at 16th your less powerful then a straight Wizard imo. You have a ton of utility because you have access to just the right spell whenever needed, but because its so feat intensive you dont have room to really shine in any one thing.

I have played it before and its alot of fun... if you survive long enough to reap the benefits.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I can see where dipping is potentially more of a gain than a loss for combat characters whose most important ability is BAB. Spellcasters are really where I find it difficult to imagine dipping.

Perhaps it is just that my currently active Pathfinder characters are a druid and a witch, and because of that I don't see much gain in dipping.

If I were playing a melee character I might see dipping a little differently.

Still, nobody in our party ever dips.

Ever.

You pretty much said it all right here. Dipping for Casters doesn't make much sense because you lose a lot of power in doing so. And, with the exception of the crossblood sorc / admix wizard, I really dont see a reason to dip from full caster from an optimization standpoint.

For Melee it can be a benificial for a dip or two. I have a Rouge with fighter dips for BAB and feats. I've seen some melee builds with some dip or another that seem quite well thought out, although I have yet to personally use them.

For most peoples dips, I think it comes down to flavor. While this is certainly not optimal, I have a teleport wizard with a single dip of rogue for the armor proficiency and skills. My concept is a paranoid wizard who wears armor. I took the feat to reduce ASF chance down to 5%, which helps alot.

The party had a big laugh, though, when inside a dark dungeon I saw some creepy crawlies coming for us...
Me: "I yell LIGHT!!! so the party knows something is up, and I cast the spell"... rolls percentile...
GM: "So the crazy wizard just yelled LIGHT and nothing happened. You are all now very confused."


Ive considered coming up with a build that dips Magus 6 for the ability that lets him use another spell list, but I havent come up with anything remotely good yet.


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

This is me. I sometimes "dip" on top of a two class multiclass.


I never dip and never multiclass, and that is pretty much the same for all our players, except one, he's at 11th level and is a multiclass of 5 different classes, and naturally, he is well skilled at nothing. That player actually cheats. We stopped him, but as a temporary GM, he provided a +5 Holy Avenger as party treasure. So when he's a player again, he claims since he's the only paladin (a single level dip), he's the only one qualified to wield the Holy Avenger, so it should be his item. That's the only reason he took a single level of paladin.


I prestige fairly often, but I almost never dip. The only dipping I did was in 3.5 where I went rogue/wizard/spellwarp sniper/arcane trickster, and after I hit level 10 in AT, I was going to go back and max spellwarp sniper. To be fair though, the only reason I did that was because sneaky caster archetypes have not been well represented in 3.5(or pathfinder for that matter), so you gotta get tricky to make it work.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
gamer-printer wrote:
I never dip and never multiclass, and that is pretty much the same for all our players, except one, he's at 11th level and is a multiclass of 5 different classes, and naturally, he is well skilled at nothing. That player actually cheats. We stopped him, but as a temporary GM, he provided a +5 Holy Avenger as party treasure. So when he's a player again, he claims since he's the only paladin (a single level dip), he's the only one qualified to wield the Holy Avenger, so it should be his item. That's the only reason he took a single level of paladin.

If your party is of roughly comparable level, that treasure award was way out of line - using standard wealth-by-level guidelines nobody should have a Holy Avenger until around 15th level.

But, in any case, a Holy Avenger can easily be played as an intelligent weapon. I'd take a guess that the character in question often does things that are in conflict with the goals of a Paladin. That means that at the least the sword will refuse to function as anything more than a +2 sword (just as it would if wielded by anyone else). But there's no need to stop there - perhaps the sword will attempt to help the paladin overcome the vile enchantments that are holding back his true nature, by helping him to act as a true paladin would. Things like being the first one into battle, sacrificing his portion of the treasure for the greater good, etc., etc. ...

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I dip CONSTANTLY. Most of my concept characters involve a 1- or 2-level dip in something.


I think that it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to add a different class level just because you participated in an activity they commonly do. Just because I start using survival as a skill, doesn't mean that I'm going to dip ranger or druid for instance. Your class levels are there to define what you're primarily good at. Perhaps I'm coming from a different perspective because I mostly play casters.

Sczarni

The only caster class I can see being worth a dip into is oracle, since their curses take into account your non-oracle levels and some of the later benefits are pretty sweet. Maybe bard too, since that would get you Inspire Courage +1, the ability to use wands of CLW, and whip proficiency.

Some classes, like the monk, cavalier, and barbarian, are "front-loaded" enough that one or two levels gets you plenty of good stuff. It's also a decent way to shore up some weaknesses if they're bothering you.

I'd be much more willing to dip in PFS than a home campaign. PFS goes to 12, so I already know I'm not getting the capstone. If my class's level 12 ability doesn't thrill me, why not take a level in something else?


@ Adamantine Dragon

For the druid build, a level of monk (most likely MoMS) could serve well. I know that you say they're not much of a wildshaper, but that single level of monk can allow them to be. Especially since they're focused on wisdom. Getting +Wis to AC can be better than many of the commercially available armors, especially considering the staggering cost of "wild" armor (wand of mage armor + wis >= full plate). The free stunning fist is VERY nice, again more so since you have high wis AND it's based off of Character level, not just monk levels. Of course, having a free IUS is handy, since you're always armed. The bonus to saves is VERY nice, but certainly NOT a reason to dip. But if I'm getting it for free, then yes please! The style feats are INCREDIBLY powerful, as that 1 level dip can get you crane WING, so you effectively negate one attack per round. Having access to additional class skills is nice, especially stealth on a dex-heavy character.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
OK then, just for the sake of argument, not that I am likely to actually dip any of my characters, what dip would work best for the following characters on their next level up, and why?

Well, generally speaking, as much as I like dipping, I'd never recommend dipping just for the sake of it. The question you have to ask is--is there something I really think my character should be good at that they just can't quite do with the class they have alone? Just to bear in mind.

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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.

If she uses her bow a lot, a dip into fighter for a few levels wouldn't hurt for extra BAB and bonus feats. Ranger is also a possibility--you keep your skill points and levels should stack with Wild Empathy in that case.

Zen Archer for a level or two could be a possibility, since you have a good Wis, although I'd rec dipping into monk more if you used wild shape more often, since your bonus to AC from Wis would presumably apply.

An argument NOT to dip is that she's a blaster. You don't necessarily want to lose out on caster level and maxing damage dice with an offensive caster. And for that matter, that she's a ranged attacker. Druid dips I think would make more sense for melee druids who wild shape and summon a lot for support, which is the antithesis of your concept. So it's mostly for her concept, about how to improve her weapon fighting.

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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.

Depending on her stats, I can think of two possibilities, though they're odd ones.

One is a dip into cleric -- part of the reason is for channel negative energy (presuming she is not of good alignment), so she can easily heal the undead she creates/commands with her gravewalker abilities, even if it's only a small amount. Domain abilities and some low level cleric spells could also round out her casting abilities with some buffs and healing, which could be useful--especially if she's staying in the back a lot.

Another idea is a dip into bard -- since she's got a lot of debuffs, adding a class that buffs well could round her out when the debuffs aren't effective. The bard's low level abilities are still useful even with higher power-- never hurts to get a +1 to attack, etc. Similarly with cleric spells, rounds out the spell abilities with some stuff the witch could not otherwise do. Plus the bard's extra skill points and class skills can come in handy for out of combat contributions to the party.

Both classes also grant a slight boost in hit points and armor and weapon proficiency, should those ever become useful.

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

As an aside, the Paizo blog has rules for how to do a ranger with a hippogriff companion. I think it's also in d20pfsrd; it's called Sable Company Marine or something like that. Just a note for when you do convert him from 3.5.

Honestly, I really can't think of much that would complement this character concept that isn't covered by ranger -- and you don't want to dip too much because you'll reduce your companion's advancement. This goes back to the first question--is there something you see the character needing to do that the ranger can't do on his own as a single class character?

The only possibility I can really think of is rogue if you want more class skills and maybe some complementary rogue talents with your archery. Class skill wise, for example, Acrobatics could be handy -- if someone knocks you off your hippogriff, having a way to reduce the falling damage could be useful.

Alternately maybe some paladin for smite evil, but I think that would stunt your ranger/companion's growth too much to get it where you'd want it to be.


Thanks for the response DQ. As I said, I probably won't dip into any other class for any of my characters because I haven't yet seen a value.

I have been tempted to dip into ranger with my druid, but that's almost entirely because of some first level ranger spells I like (gravity bow mostly), but I can also boost UMD and cast those spells from wands, or do spell research and potentially add them to my own list.

Otherwise I really don't have any real interest in dipping my druid. Druids are pretty solid already and extremely versatile. Plus I like the spell progression.

My ranger is not currently in any campaign and I really like him as he is. I'll check out the blog you mentioned to see what I should do for my hippogriff. Back in 2e days (yes, this ranger was converted from 2e to 3, and then to 3.5) he took the hippogriff eggs and raised them himself.

So that leaves my witch. He might benefit from some dipping. And since he's already pretty deliberately gimped I don't really care that much if he loses some advancement in witch if he gains something flavorful. Because his charisma is pretty high, a bard dip might even work. I had been considering sorcerer just because of the additional offensive spells, but really, he's a flashy, charismatic cajun voodoo dude... bard might actually be a perfect fit.

I will strongly consider the bard dip... But not for mechanical reasons.


I've never planned out a character where it involved taking a dip- or even a level or two- of something just to snag some ability or other.

Generally speaking, I don't multiclass at all. Not melee, not casters. I prefer to take a class and suck it up all the way through. (though some of my casters did take the old archmage PrC- it wasn't a dip. They took it from start to finish).

I did have one low level guy. a rogue I think maybe? or a fighter- I forget now- swap over to a cleric at level 3 but that was mainly because we seriously needed a healer type and no one else wanted to do it. But even then I didn't see it as a dip. It was a career change.

-S


I do most of the character designing for our group and the only time I ever 'dip' is to take 2 levels of Paladin for a high-Charisma character or 1-2 levels of Monk for a high Wisdom character... and then only when I can appropriately explain it RP-wise. I do multi-class and prestige class characters a little more often than most I think, but I don't consider that 'dipping' (i.e. Sorcerer 1/Paladin 5 to take Dragon Disciple not considered a 'dip').


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

It depends on the character and circumstances, a lot.

I've got a 3.5 fighter type whose current build (some PrC requirements are modified by houserules) is
Fighter 2 / Hexblade 3 / Blackguard 3 / Occult Slayer 5 / Disciple of Dispater 6.
It's a high-powered game, and I did a lot of pick & choose to get specific features. So the character has solid offense (full BAB, an excellent weapon, and a few features that boost offense), and excellent saves (especially vs. spells).
No more base class than required to get into the first PrC, then swung from Occult Slayer to Blackguard and got that to 3, where command undead shows up (to fuel Divine Might), and left the class behind.

In the game before that, another player wanted to be a paladin, but the class was banned, so he started on a fighter/cleric plan... intended to be primarily fighter. Then it turned out our "cleric" was a wizard/rogue, so he made it primarily cleric.

My wizard, however, will probably take Loremaster, and no other classes.

My magus has two levels of rogue. Originally it was going to be one. The character is aimed at being a James Bond type, and I decided that it paid to invest a level in rogue to expand his skills (both ranks to spend and getting a lot more skills counted as class). More recently, I took a second level of rogue to pick up evasion and more skill ranks. I doubt I'll take any more rogue at this point; it costs too much in caster level and spell progression (especially as I'm the sole arcane caster in the party).

In Pathfinder, I find it much harder to justify multiclassing in general, just because the base classes are so much more rewarding. In 3.5, there was often no reason to take a base class any longer than necessary. So I'm more likely to stick with one class, or dip something else to round out the character's capabilities.


Currently I've got characters in two separate campaigns:

Samurai 7, focuses on katana
Fighter 3, damage dealer with a side of tripping

With the Samurai I'll probably dip as a fighter after 9th level (when he gets Greater Resolve aka nyah nyah nyah can't crit me). At that point he'll qualify for the critical focus feats and he's already specialized in a high crit weapon (katana is 18-20 x2) so having a few extra feats would be nice as well as armor training 1 (his DEX is 14 so he'll get another +1 AC in full plate). After three levels of fighter he'll probably go back to Samurai.

For the Fighter I'll start looking at other classes after level 7 (armor training 2, gives full movement in heavy armor). Possibly paladin, inquisitor or samurai depending on how the game evolves.

Generally, I want to build mechanically sound characters and I'll only dip and/or multi class when the character stays competitive with single classing. If I multi class it'll be once the primary class has hit a lull in terms of useful or interesting abilities. I'll dip for flexibility if I'm in a small party (say 3-4 PCs) but will only dip for strength if there are 5+ players. The reasoning for this is that once the CR adjustment kicks in then melee classes especially can't afford to fall behind the curve against high AC tough opponents, IMO.


I almost never dip, my subconscious thinks that the result is worse than a straight class progression.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I can see where dipping is potentially more of a gain than a loss for combat characters whose most important ability is BAB. Spellcasters are really where I find it difficult to imagine dipping.

Perhaps it is just that my currently active Pathfinder characters are a druid and a witch, and because of that I don't see much gain in dipping.

If I were playing a melee character I might see dipping a little differently.

Still, nobody in our party ever dips.

Ever.

Lots of people dip. Spellcasters are the rarest dippers, but there are still those who will do it for certain reasons. It's simply that the loss in caster level and spells is generally not worth whatever ability you are gaining. Some exceptions still apply however. There is an oracle/wizard combo, for example, that allows you to ignore AoOs for casting spells; which is likely worth the 2 caster levels you might give up for the convenience of being able to cast in melee with no issues.

For characters who are not dedicated casters, dipping can be wonderful. Just with Pathfinder base classes, you can create a 20th level Jack of All martial character who has a little bit of casting with a large variety of spell lists, a +15/+10/+5 or better base attack bonus, and excessively good saving throws; making them a pretty versatile fellow.

Yes indeed, dipping is a blessing for the martial characters. Dedicated magic requires just that. Dedication.

Qadira

PhelanArcetus wrote:
In the game before that, another player wanted to be a paladin, but the class was banned,

Why was Paladin banned?

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