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Let's make multiclassing work


Beginner Box


I am an adult running a middle-school Pathfinder club using the Beginner Box rules, and one idea that has gotten them really excited about eventually "graduating" to the Core Rulebook has been the idea of multi-classing. Specifically, the idea of being both a wizard and a capable fighter.

And so plan to incorporate the house rule at the bottom of this post in my club soon, before they start using the CRB.

EDOWar has some initial thoughts on multiclassing on his website, along with his excellent supplements to the Beginner Box. But I'd like to introduce a thread on this topic in the BB forum.

Here is my train of thought on multiclassing using the BB:
1. First, it seems like it would be straightforward to people familiar with the Core Rulebook: use simple addition to add various stats such as base save bonuses and attack bonus, roll a different hit die, add the appropriate Class Features.
2. But Problem 1 is that the Beginner Box contemplates only 5 levels of play. For a cleric or wizard who is multiclassing, this closes off the BB's premier 3rd-level spells.
3. This could be ameliorated by allowing play up to Level 6 (23,000 XP). Still, this gives multiclassers for whom spellcasting is their main focus only one level of a 2nd class. On the other hand, they are free to trade off 3rd-level spells to take the advantage of, say, taking 3 levels in fighter.
4. Allowing for Level 6 does not complicate play much for the 5 Beginner Box classes. Their new abilities at Level 6 are merely extensions of their Level 1-5 abilities. The only new complication is that fighters and barbarians get a second attack since their Base Attack Bonus is now +6/+1. But I don't see anyone complaining (especially Fighter and Barbarian players) about this too much. :)
5. If you allow advancement beyond Level 6, your players might as well be already in the process of absorbing the Core Rulebook, since pure spellcasters should have access to 4th-level spells.

So far, so good. But there are other concerns I have that interact with the streamlining of the CRB rules for the Beginner Box. Namely:

1. The lack of penalties for strong armor. When a wizard dips into a level of fighter, according to the BB they can wear full plate armor for the +9 bonus. The CRB imposes a spell failure chance of 35%, thus making such characters want to avoid strong armor and/or invest in the Arcane Armor Training feats.
2. Similarly, when a rogue dips into a level of fighter, according to the BB they can wear full plate armor. In the CRB, this imposes a stiff -6 penalty on all DEX-based and STR-based skills. In the Beginner Box, there is no such penalty.

And so I personally feel that, for the sake of balance, allowing multiclassing should also mean using the spell-failure rules and armor-check-penalty rules. (The Wizard and Rogue in the above examples still gain the other benefits of being a Fighter.)

This means updating everyone's character sheet to factor in armor-check penalties, which yes includes weakening the Rogue's skills under Beginner Box rules.

(Note that I hesitate to add the effects of strong armor and shields to other rule areas that aren't included in the BB. Nor do I use the maximum-DEX limits from armor: this hits the Rogues first and foremost under BB rules, and they already are taking a hit.)

So here is my "house rule" allowing multiclassing in the Beginner Box:

1. First, use the core multiclassing mechanic from the CRB:

Quote:

Instead of gaining the abilities granted by the next level in your character's current class, he can instead gain the 1st-level abilities of a new class, adding all of those abilities to his existing ones. This is known as “multiclassing.”

For example, let's say a 5th-level fighter decides to dabble in the arcane arts, and adds one level of wizard when he advances to 6th level. Such a character would have the powers and abilities of both a 5th-level fighter and a 1st-level wizard, but would still be considered a 6th-level character. (His class levels would be 5th and 1st, but his total character level is 6th.) He keeps all of his bonus feats gained from 5 levels of fighter, but can now also cast 1st-level spells and picks an arcane school. He adds all of the hit points, base attack bonuses, and saving throw bonuses from a 1st-level wizard on top of those gained from being a 5th-level fighter.

Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character's level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

2. OPTIONAL: Incorporate the spell-failure and armor-check penalties. If you do this, make available the Arcane Armor Training feats, and give fighters the part of the Armor Training ability not mentioned in the BB when the attain 3rd level: reduce their Armor Check penalty by 1.

3. Declare that players can go up to Level 6 at 23,000 XP. Use the 6th-level abilities from the CRB. (If they want to go further, hopefully by the time they are at Level 6 they already are ready to use most of the CRB rules and classes.)

That's it! What do other people think?


You could go with "You can't cast arcane spells while wearing armour"? :)

That would seem the most BB-ish way to treat the issue, by analogy with the 'no casting in melee' rule.


S'mon wrote:

You could go with "You can't cast arcane spells while wearing armour"? :)

That would seem the most BB-ish way to treat the issue, by analogy with the 'no casting in melee' rule.

That might work -- especially if they're open to using a spell slot to cast Mage Armor. (Otherwise, I think they'd be unhappy fighters with low AC.)

They could change in and out of armor, but that's clunky and kind of a throwback to 1e.


Well, this is totally pedantic, but I wouldn't call it "multiclassing" for the BB; I'd call it "class switching" and limit it to one class switch over the 5 levels the BB covers.

Then I'd make sure that not only does the character take on the strengths of both classes, but the weaknesses as well. BB wizards can't cast spells in armor, so characters who switch class to a wizard (or from a wizard) can't cast spells in armor either.

That's just my $.02. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"4. Allowing for Level 6 does not complicate play much for the 5 Beginner Box classes. Their new abilities at Level 6 are merely extensions of their Level 1-5 abilities. The only new complication is that fighters and barbarians get a second attack since their Base Attack Bonus is now +6/+1."

This may be heresy, but why not make it easy and say at Level 6, you get BAB +6? The point of the BB is to keep things streamlined and simple.

Those who 'graduate' to the Core Rulebook shouldn't have much trouble adapting to the +6/+1 idea.

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