Gestalt Multiclassing Questions

Rules Questions


For a gestalt campaign, I am working on a gish that will eventually take levels in dragon disciple. I will not go too in depth with my build, but we are starting at level 3, and my plan is sorcerer 3 (crossblooded, draconian and abyssal)/ Lorewarden fighter 2, ranger 1.

Firstly, I am confused by the base saves. Do you just take the highest increase each level as in normal multiclassing, or do you just keep the best saves?

Also, I am confused about the extra spellcasting levels that come from DD. I am expecting to take levels in DD and sorcerer at the same time. Although I would not expect the levels to stack for spellcasting, my friend thought that they would. There is a similar problem with the levels of DD counting for levels of the Draconic bloodline. I guess this is something that the rules might not cover, because it's gestalt but does anyone have any idea how this works?


Well, first off there are no official rules for gestalting (the closest are guidelines for doing it in 3.5, which are a pretty solid starting point but not really the same thing), so talk to your GM about any questions and realize that there's really nothing better than whatever they decide. But to answer some questions with what seem to be reasonable solutions...

1. Track your BAB, saves, etc, fractionally. That means you just say that you have three levels with 3/4ths BAB and three with full BAB and then work out what that equates to. Do the same with saves.

2. The logical way to work it, to me at least, is to say that your caster level cannot exceed your character level. Otherwise things simply get silly-- one could easily hit a caster level in the thirties, and have 9th level spells by level eleven or so. Thus, if I was the GM I'd only allow you to take both Sorcerer and DD levels simultaneously if it was level 1, 5, or 9 of DD (where the Diciple doesn't increase your casting level) or you were already below that maximum caster level. However, it could also be reasonable to decide that the caster levels in excess of character level are 'stored' until you do hit that character level. I.E., if you decide to spread your classes such that your casting level is 6th at character level 5, then the next time you don't take anything that increases casting level it'd still go up by one.

To put it in a list format that might make a little more sense, you kind of have these three options:
1. Go nuts, stacking casting/bloodline levels as they come. Casters will dominate the game, but this might be slightly less silly as it sounds-- after all, there's also the possibility of gestalting Barbarian and Bloodrager for ridiculously potent rages and all the powers one could ask for during said rage.
2. Caster level cannot exceed character level, and you cannot take a class combination that would push you over the edge. Here, that'd mean you can only take Sorcerer levels at Dragon Disciple levels 1, 5, and 9.
3. You can take a combination that would push your caster level over character level, but the gains aren't added until you have the character level to accommodate for it, basically allowing you to 'store up' the benefits for later when you don't take levels of Sorc or Disciple.

Repeat for Bloodlines, which may or may not be the same. I would go with option #2 for casting but option #1 (maybe #3) for bloodlines, because while high-end bloodline powers can be very good, they're nowhere near as good as high-end casting and they can only be stacked with this specific class combination, whereas there are more than a few other gestalt options that can easily do worse when stacking two similar class features.

I would ask though-- why do you want to take the two at the same time in the first place? Outside of DD levels 1/5/9, to keep the casting level maxed, there's not a lot of benefit to it. You're still progressing bloodline powers, bloodline spells, and casting with Disciple, so the only thing Sorc can possibly give you is... bloodline feats. Since those are spaced six levels apart and the first isn't until level 7, this really doesn't seem worthwhile. There are much better ways to get more feats.

Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

We've played Gestalt with Pathfinder for years, and the easiest way I explain it to new players we get is:

1. Keep both sides separate, then take the better of the two. So if you are playing a Rogue / Barbarian, you calculate Uncanny Dodge (and Improved) on the Barbarian side, and the Rogue side separately, then take the better of the two (hint, Barbarian wins, so taking a Rogue Archetype that gives up Uncanny Dodge is beneficial). That way things that "stack" only stack on one side, so they won't be able to exceed normal rules. This also makes keeping track of things a lot easier.

2. If you multiclass, be sure to keep track of it as if you were two separate characters (again, keeping both sides separate). 6 Wizard + 4 Eldritch Knight on one side, and 10 Magus on the other. This keeps things like Caster level on par (i.e. you can't get full Wizard progression with an Eldritch Knight unless you take Eldritch Knight on the other side. (Like 10 Wizard on one side and 5 Fighter + 5 Eldritch Knight on the other. This makes the "+1 caster level" on the Eldritch Knight "worthless" though since it isn't adding any caster levels, the casting progression is only on the Wizard side).

Example: 3 Sorcerer on one side, and Fighter 2, Ranger 1 on the other side (3/2+1) would look like this -

Base Attack would be 3 (3 Sorcerer = 1 or 2 Fighter + 1 Ranger = 3)
Fortitude save would be 5 (3 Sorcerer = 1 or 2 Fighter + 1 Ranger = 5)

As was stated above though, there are no "official" Gestalt rules (Pathfinder Unchained maybe?) so it's up to your GM ultimately.

The reason I am taking dd and sorcerer at the same time is because sorcerer was originally Bloodrager. My original concept was to make a character with a high strength using blood rage, the abyssal bonuses, crossblooded/Draconic to get dd, and eldritch heritage to get the orc bloodline bonuses. Then, my GM banned the acg classes, so I switched to sorcerer and became a full caster, but still with a lot of the str madness.

To further justify this decision, we are using Canthin's rules about taking the better rather than the average bab, skill ranks, etc. I figured that if I started dd at 6th level and sorcerer, I would still have a full bab.

Finally, I have an even weirder question about crossblooded, and dd. For crosblooded, you choose a bloodline power from either of your bloodlines when you gain a bloodline power. DD stacks with the Draconic bloodline. Since I am taking both sorcerer and dd for 10 levels, can I get both powers by choosing the abyssal power with sorcerer and gaining the Draconic power through dd?

Thanks again for answering my previous questions. Although I know there aren't official rules for this, I at least want your opinions on how this works.

... Is it bad that I find fixing it to two 'sides' more complicated instead of less?

But really, see how your GM wants these things handled. Too many possibilities.

Oops! I just realized that I was doing bab wrong. I would just increase it if it increased on either side. This means that I would not have a full bab with my current build, and might redesign part of it.

I do know that my GM wants us to take the best abilities from either classes, but since no one in my group ever multiclassed a gestalt before, it never mattered whether my original interpretation of taking the increase, or taking the better sum of the side is right. I will ask my GM when I get a chance.

So the way gestalt was originally written was as two completely separate classes, take the best of either. So you basically build two completely separate characters, then when you combine them you take the better of BAB, saves, skills, then any other abilities (no duplication). Any prestige class for combining two classes is not allowed, as if you actually cared about combining them you would just gestalt them instead (you powergaming munchkin, etc. etc.). So no Eldritch Knight, Mystic Theurge, anything like that. The alternative is that a prestige class takes up both sides of a gestalt.

If you're actually interested in a bloodrager you should just make one by doing a barbarian//sorcerer/dd and use Moment of Clarity when you want to buff (or buff before raging).

The reason for making two characters is exactly to prevent the +infinity caster level problem, since each class will be by itself. In your example you'd have a barb/sorc combined with a sorc/dd, but you'd only ever get the highest caster level between the two (and they wouldn't stack). So no way to avoid dead levels in a prestige class by throwing the prestige class on the other side or moving one class to the other side. Honestly, it's just simpler to gestalt with full classes on each side, then you become a class with "highest bab" "best level of casting" with "best skill points" and "all the class features of these two classes". So a Barb//Sorc would get you a full BAB 9th level caster with 4+int skill points a level and all the stuff barbs and sorcs get.

Where *are* the rules for gestalt, anyway?

I don't actually know.

Strictly speaking, based on the 3.5 SRD, things that combine two classes 'should be prohibited', which is not the same thing as 'not allowed'. And a rule like that would be hard to enforce-- would you count the Dragon Disciple as combining two classes? It's a hell of a lot more fighter than any other casting-progression prestige class I can name off-hand sans the Eldritch Knight, and has some very real edges over the EK (stat bonuses, armor bonuses, actual abilities, and a d12 hit die, plus more if you happen to be a Sorcerer). And if not... what's really the difference? Does the full BAB matter /that/ much?

It's also worth noting that, again based on the 3.5 SRD, you are /not/ merging two separate character sheets. You're just taking two classes at each level and merging some aspects. The only restrictions therein are no taking the same class twice and no taking two prestige classes at the same time (the latter is probably unnecessary for Pathfinder, but hey).

All of that said, off the 3.5 SRD we have "Class features that two classes share (such as uncanny dodge) accrue at the rate of the faster class." Apply that to spellcasting/bloodlines and the question is answered-- they don't stack, but taking a level of Sorc at DD levels 1/5/9 would keep your casting up to par. But, you'd still be wise to talk to your GM before assuming anything, even if it's coming straight off the Gestalt rules available to everybody. As you can tell from this thread, there are all kinds of houserules around regarding gestalting, from the base procedure on down to the fine print. Thorough communication will save you a lot of headaches.

To go over the other question pitched though about the bloodline though: Even if you took DD and Sorcerer together, and your GM allowed their Bloodline levels to both count, DD explicitly stacks with the Sorcerer on this front so you'd simply gain bloodline abilities twice as fast, rather than getting both. If your GM doesn't allow both to stack for your effective bloodline level, the question is moot-- at most it'd be worth noting that you can freely take Abyssal stuff during levels of DD.

Shadow Lodge

boring7 wrote:

Where *are* the rules for gestalt, anyway?

I don't actually know.

Here you go! :)

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Ah, that explains any number of things.

Also "meh" to "should be prohibited." Game balance is already totally bananas when you can have a rogue/bard or a Wizard/barbarian and call them both equal. Gestalt is for getting crazy and loving every minute of it.

Original gestalt was AD&D multiclass characters. I guess they renamed it because they used multiclassing as a word in 3e. You had two or three separate class levels that earned exp at the same rate (which mattered when they were on different exp tracks). And some stuff about training no one paid attention to anyway. It was a little better because you got full "skills".

The D&D 3.5 gestalt rules look awful, I would suggest bringing it up with your DM. As written, you could take two 1/2 BAB classes and get full BAB. Just go wizard 20//fighter 1/sorc 19. At every level you'd get +1 BAB. Might get double will save too, since you get +1 Will at every level.

And gestalt doesn't really break game balance (still only get 1 spell/round, same number of attacks) unless you get the +20 CL prestige class abuse and run around blasting people with Holy Word/Blasphemy. Or use one side of the gestalt to multiclass every class ever for max saves. Both are pretty lame uses of an otherwise quite flavorful option.

Gestalts get broken by combining things that either overlap in unique ways or are explicitly not meant to be combined in normal gameplay. Sorcerer/Wizard is just a lot of spells, and you still have action issues. It's certainly better than a straight Sorcerer or Wizard, but not as earthshattering as it could be. By comparison, Barbarian/Bloodrager is pretty good, and will net you a lot of advantages during a rage to screw with the other guy. m

But what about Wizard/Magus? After level 6 (when you can take Broad Study) you're looking at a Magus with 9th level casting progression (not to mention access to the much broader Sorc/Wizard list) and some extra abilities and feats. Magus got 2/3rds casting for a reason, and trading up to full is a pretty huge advantage. Barbarian/Bloodrager is another one with some potential for some wickedly nasty buff-and-crush action.

The saves and BAB thing is easily accomplished by using fractional accounting. To use the Wizard 20/Fighter 1/Sorcerer 19 example, you'd simply have one level where you have a d10 hit die, full BAB, good fort save, and good will save, then the next level (Wizard/Sorcerer) you pick up half a BAB and progress the fort save badly and the Will save well. Your BAB becomes 1+ 1/2, rounded down to 1. Your Will save goes to +3 (getting +2 for picking up Sorcerer 1 is a bad plan, that makes it way too easy to pump your saves), but your Fort is still only +2 (one level of a good save + one level of a bad save), and of course d6 hit die. Level after that you get 1+1/2+1/2, so 2 BAB, your Will stays at +3, and your Fort goes to +3.

Really, this is why "check with your GM" is so important. The rules are written... not very clearly, and they aren't official rules anyway. So trying to game them by specific wording is, I would think, more likely to backfire on you than not.

Yeah I have a GM who likes to run gestalt games and he's tinkered with it a bit in what kind of restrictions to use. I think I give him headaches with some of the things I've tried to do..

One of the early games, classes A B and C:
lvl 1: A1/B1
lvl 2: A2/C1
lvl 3: B2/C2

I don't see the problem with it personally, but recently the rule "one side of the gestalt shall remain a single base class" has appeared. It's not a bad rule, really.

I'm also a fan of the fractional BAB and saves, modified in the same way kestral described (I think). The first time you get a good (+2) save for each of fortitude, reflex, and will, you get the +2.5. Gaining first level of any other classes that also give good progression to that save only adds the .5; keeps things much more reasonable/balanced.

Thanks for the help!

I finally talked to my GM, and we are using what I originally thought: the character gets the bonus when either one of his classes' atributes increase. Also, he has changed his mind about the ban of the ACG, so I am going back to my origional concept of Boodrager instead of sorcerer.

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