Stop the 1 Level Class Dip


Prerelease Discussion

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This here is mostly for non-spell casting classes.

I'm getting a bit tired of seeing a bunch of min/max characters that pick up just a single level or two of multiple classes. A lot of classes seem to front load their class features in their beginning levels. Multi-classing and cherry picking these classes usually can end up making a stronger and more flexible character. The problem is, there's usually no real reason to stay as a 'pure' non-caster class as those 'pure' classes don't really reward you with anything till the very high levels, which most games do not see.

Pure classes should give a -
Minor class ability @ 5th level
Good Class ability @ 10th
Very Good Class ability @ 15 (This is usually the cap stone of most games that I see played and should be something players should try to get)
Class Defining Ability @ level 20 (most games will never see this)

The level 20 cap stone ability which was giving out in PF1e, while it looked nice and sounded 'cool', never really got used. So why shoot for a ability you'll never see as by the time you get it, you'll have one big scene and then you're character is retired.


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Matt2VK wrote:

Pure classes should give a -

Minor class ability @ 5th level
Good Class ability @ 10th
Very Good Class ability @ 15 (This is usually the cap stone of most games that I see played and should be something players should try to get)

So, you'd get no class abilities - even minor class abilities - for the first four levels? That doesn't sound much fun.

I know things like 'one level of Barbarian and now I can rage' are a bit cheap in PF1, but I'd rather fix that by adding abilities that start out a bit weak at level 1 and get stronger as I level up.


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Or we could stop pretending that picking a "class" every level was ever a good idea. Give classes more of their defining abilities at 1st level, silo some off for single-class characters, and then let multiclass characters buy them back with class feats or something.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Matt2VK wrote:

Pure classes should give a -

Minor class ability @ 5th level
Good Class ability @ 10th
Very Good Class ability @ 15 (This is usually the cap stone of most games that I see played and should be something players should try to get)

So, you'd get no class abilities - even minor class abilities - for the first four levels? That doesn't sound much fun.

I know things like 'one level of Barbarian and now I can rage' are a bit cheap in PF1, but I'd rather fix that by adding abilities that start out a bit weak at level 1 and get stronger as I level up.

Nope, was thinking something along the lines like the unchained rogue got at 4th level when they could add DEX to damage to a weapon type.

A example of what I'm getting tired of seeing (from Starfinder) is a 1 level dip into the Starfinder Blitz Soldier dip. You pick up a whole bunch of gear feats for free, +4 initiative modifier, and a extra 10' of movement. You get all these goodies with just a 1 level dip and the only penalty is you delay your main class progress by one level.

A possible example -
Fighter class
5th level minor ability - Only suffers a -3 for second attack and a -8 for 3rd attack (instead of +0/-5/-10 for each following attack).
10th level ability - While fighting defensively the fighter taunts his enemy applying his INT modifier to his allies vs this creature he's attacking.
15th level - Get's to apply his Wisdom modifier to his damage rolls as he now knows roughly where to hit from all his combat experience.
20th level - Something big and exciting.

I tossed in the 10th and 15th off stat modifiers as I just feel it would help round out vs seeing all the single stat characters with a bunch of 'dump' stats.


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Or, you know, don't stop the one level class dip.

Some of us like the fact that you can tweak your characters with little perks, gain a little edge or fulfill a concept that can't easily be done with a single class.

Calling it min/maxing like it's a bad thing isn't going to change the fact that we enjoy that. It's an integral part of the fun of the flexibility of pathfinder as opposed to a more generic game. If it's not for you, you can just not do it.

I'd rather they made multiclassing more attractive for casters than deny it to everyone.


The fact is level one has to give something that already defines the class, or low-level characters would be very boring.
It's hard to balance, let's hope for the best!


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FaerieGodfather wrote:
Or we could stop pretending that picking a "class" every level was ever a good idea. Give classes more of their defining abilities at 1st level, silo some off for single-class characters, and then let multiclass characters buy them back with class feats or something.

How would that even work? You can't multiclass if you aren't able to pick a class each level. And how would you silo off a feature? "Oh, I have 5 levels of Fighter, but I don't get Armor Training because I also have one level of Monk."

I like being able to multiclass if I want to, even if it's only a single level. Sometimes I do it for abilities I wouldn't be able to get otherwise without using a bunch of feats after a bunch of levels. Like how my Archaeologist Bard starts off with one level of Inspired Blade Swashbuckler. I don't want to have to wait until level 5 just for my dex build to be able to do damage. It would eat up too much of the build.

Sometimes it's for flavor reasons. Like how my Unchained Phantom Thief Rogue and Dashing Thief Swashbuckler both take a level in Bard because their wealthy parents had them take music lessons as children.

And sometimes it's because the class features just work super well together. Like how my Hunter took a few levels of Unchained Rogue because the Sneak Attack and Talents boost the flanking and AoO generating build of said Hunter and Animal Companion.


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Back in 3.0/3.5, the way this was discouraged was with the exp penalty. It made single level dipping and having more than two classes far more difficult.

People seemed to dislike that, for some reason (I never had a problem with it, myself).

Should that be brought back?


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I'm against further restrictions.
While I think that encouraging to focus on a single class is a good thing, multiclassing is an option to diversify characters and I like options like that very much.

Overall, I think games should focus on rewarding things instead of applying penalties. If multiclassing is rewarding in itself, reward focusing on only one class in some way, too.

Liberty's Edge

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I don't hate 1 level dips.

Well, okay, I hate Medium/Mutagen dips because 90% of the time, those are ripping out the numbers in spite of the flavour of the abilities.

Rage dips are functional, flavourful, and give the player a little extra burst damage when there's an NPC that really gets under their skin. I like that.

Swashbuckler dips I hate, it just emphasised the class's flaws. I wouldn't mind seeing a generic finesse package/archetype that characters can get, though.


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I guess it depends on what a "dip" is, and why the player has chosen to take a level in another class.

Seeing as we don't really know how classes work, or archetypes, I'm not sure this can be discussed without a lot of assumptions that may prove to be in error.


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Over all, I don't mind dips. What I mind is the lack of reason to stay as a "pure" class unless you're a full progression spell caster.

This could probably be fixed by granting class abilities that are more level dependent instead of just handing out class abilities.

Example: Get a +1 initiative modifier which increases ever 5 levels.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Saldiven wrote:
Back in 3.0/3.5, the way this was discouraged was with the exp penalty. It made single level dipping and having more than two classes far more difficult.

Not really.

1) As long as the levels in each class were within 1 of any other class there was no penalty (i.e., 2/2/3 would have no penalty, but 1/2/3 or 2/2/4 would).

2) Levels in the PC's favored class (usually race specific, or chosen by the player for half-elves and humans) were not considered when determining if a penalty applied. So any fighter levels for a dwarf did not count for experience point penalties.

3) Prestige classes were not considered when determining if a penalty applied.

If anything 3.x encouraged dipping and multiclassing much more than PF1e to stack base class and prestige class benefits. Single-class characters in 3.x were the exception; most "builds" were made of at least two base classes and several prestige classes (dipping of prestige classes was even worse than dipping of base classes).


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Heather 540 wrote:
How would that even work? You can't multiclass if you aren't able to pick a class each level. And how would you silo off a feature? "Oh, I have 5 levels of Fighter, but I don't get Armor Training because I also have one level of Monk."

AD&D had two different multiclassing systems in 1978, that didn't work that way, plus a third introduced for the Ninja class in Oriental Adventures in 1986.

Classic D&D had a multiclassing system for humanoid spellcasters in Orcs of Thar in 1988 that didn't work that way.

After WotC spent five years (2003-2008) trying to fix their broken nonsense multiclassing rules with Feats and Prestige Classes, they released another version of D&D that used a different system that didn't work that way... and a second, fully compatible multiclassing system that didn't work that way in 2010.

I'm not going to try to tell Paizo how to design a multiclassing system, because most of my efforts aren't much better-- but damn, if they're designing a new Pathfinder that doesn't have to be 99% 3.5 compatible... maybe they shouldn't include the system that their predecessors spent five years trying to fix and then abandoned.

And if you're not using that broken system, it's trivial to say that certain class features are only awarded if the class is the character's primary/only class.

Heather 540 wrote:
I don't want to have to wait until level 5 just for my dex build to be able to do damage. It would eat up too much of the build.

That's why I hate that the broken, stupid multiclassing system forced the designers to make so many defining character abilities higher level.

The only reason you can't have many of those abilities at 1st level is having to keep class levels balanced against eachother (poorly) rather than whole classes.


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Since "class" is akin to "profession", and your character probably spent the last five years learning how to be a level 1 X, you need to simulate the dedicated training time before taking a level in a different class. Perhaps require character to take three levels in Commoner before they can take a level in another PC class?

I think it is very "unrealistic" to be able to take a level in a different class after a couple weeks adventuring, and suddenly get the same abilities as someone who has been training for it since a child.


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Scott Romanowski wrote:

Since "class" is akin to "profession", and your character probably spent the last five years learning how to be a level 1 X, you need to simulate the dedicated training time before taking a level in a different class. Perhaps require character to take three levels in Commoner before they can take a level in another PC class?

I think it is very "unrealistic" to be able to take a level in a different class after a couple weeks adventuring, and suddenly get the same abilities as someone who has been training for it since a child.

That is not a universally held view of class.

To me most classes don't define what you are, it just describes it mechanically.

And I have done the 'start as a commoner' game - it wasn't fun.


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Scott Romanowski wrote:

Since "class" is akin to "profession", and your character probably spent the last five years learning how to be a level 1 X, you need to simulate the dedicated training time before taking a level in a different class. Perhaps require character to take three levels in Commoner before they can take a level in another PC class?

I think it is very "unrealistic" to be able to take a level in a different class after a couple weeks adventuring, and suddenly get the same abilities as someone who has been training for it since a child.

Granted it's unrealistic to just suddenly become a wizard because you stabbed some goblins. But personally that's a level of meta that I'm willing to accept in the name of fun. I don't really think you need to simulate dedicated training time. Would it be more realistic? Absolutely. Would it be fun? Doesn't seem that way to me. If you force players to waste 3 levels to multiclass, all you'll get is people not multiclassing.

I also liked AD&D 2e's multiclassing method, but the flexibility of 3.P's feels more natural to me, particularly if you're making a character that begins play at higher level. You can reflect "The street kid who makes a living as a pickpocket, until a wizard adopts him and takes him as an apprentice" much more easily with a 1 level dip in rogue than by forcing him to be all one or the other. Or forcing him to continue taking levels of both for his entire career. Granted AD&D 2e also had the dual-classing rules, but those really kind of sucked.

It would be awesome if they could figure out a way to balance including both methods, but I think that's unlikely. What they really need to figure out is a way to make multiclassing not so hugely punishing for spellcasters. I should be able to play a Rogue/Sorcerer or a Fighter/Cleric without being absolutely crippled for it. In AD&D 2e a Mage/Thief would be...maybe 1 or 2 levels behind the party for his whole career in terms of level advancement. In 3.P he's 10 levels behind by lvl 20, assuming an even advancement.


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The dip that bugged me was Crossblooded Sorcerer to make Wizard better at stuff. I imagine that doing that in PF2 would put Wizard behind Sorcerer on spells, so it probably won’t be an issue.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I don't like 1 level dips, but I think typically the solution is better balance in the level 1-3 class abilities and more careful thought about how abilities in those level synergize. The SF example upthread -- blitz soldier is just too good -- it would almost be worth it costing you two levels to get that on the builds that want it. Delaying either the movement speed or the init to 2nd level might be enough to balance it. It still might be worth it to multiclass that way, but its more of a choice.

The different classes having different number of levels/feats to get various common builds on-line (Dex to damage/etc) is the main place where its the synergies that matter more than an innate imbalance, and that's a tougher problem to solve since most things you try constraint the future design space in ways that probably aren't understood. Personally I'd be in favor of a slightly stronger favored class bonus relative to out current one (which we don't knwo if its coming along for the ride or not :), but with HP increases and skill point decreases it sounds like it would need to be rebalanced anyways). Completely spitblling but an extra skill rank or +4 HP for your favored class would sound in the ballpark.


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If you don't like 1 level dips, don't do it. If you don't like them at your table, houserule it. If you don't like it at tables thousands of miles away, well, you may have a problem there...


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've never had a problem with 1 level dips. What's the issue? It's often just another point of customization, and only in certain cases does it add a disproportionate amount of power.


WatersLethe wrote:
I've never had a problem with 1 level dips. What's the issue? It's often just another point of customization, and only in certain cases does it add a disproportionate amount of power.

Well, with the caveat that I don't care what other people do at their tables-- it makes a mockery of the very concept of a class system.

Like a number of 3e "innovations", it turned D&D into a more convoluted version of Rolemaster with less of its flexibility and none of its charm. It's still a great game, but the rotten spots made it so much less than it could have been-- dragging Pathfinder down with it.


Heather 540 wrote:
How would that even work? You can't multiclass if you aren't able to pick a class each level.

I disagree with the OP rather single class dips are a problem, but this is not a particularly strong argument against them given that people managed to multiclass for over 20 years before 3e-style multiclassing came along in 2000.

_
glass.


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I understand some folks dip to build a character concepts not supported by the existing classes / archetypes. I don't have a problem with this. but I've never actually seen anyone do it (not even for an oradin). On the other hand I have seen dips used for powergaming reasons to make something thats rather strong for its level, I intently dislike that.


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FaerieGodfather wrote:
Or we could stop pretending that picking a "class" every level was ever a good idea. Give classes more of their defining abilities at 1st level, silo some off for single-class characters, and then let multiclass characters buy them back with class feats or something.

Or we can stop assuming class=character and see classes for the sacks of mechanics with optional flavor that they are and encourage players to create the character that inspires them.


Saldiven wrote:

Back in 3.0/3.5, the way this was discouraged was with the exp penalty. It made single level dipping and having more than two classes far more difficult.

People seemed to dislike that, for some reason (I never had a problem with it, myself).

Should that be brought back?

The way around this is no class with more than 2 levels except prestige classes.

Works pretty well but it's an arbitrary restriction that doesn't help the game.


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FangDragon wrote:
I understand some folks dip to build a character concepts not supported by the existing classes / archetypes. I don't have a problem with this. but I've never actually seen anyone do it (not even for an oradin). On the other hand I have seen dips used for powergaming reasons to make something thats rather strong for its level, I intently dislike that.

Again your powergaming is someone else's normal and a third persons 'awww, that's cute'.

One of the flexibilities of PF is that it can adapt to different power levels, it just needs the GM to set appropriate limits. It is a lot easier to say "you can't use this" than it is to create something new. So I really don't want to see too many hard limits on a new system.


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This is all moot because a blog post will be dropping any day telling us about VMC from unchained being the new way of PF2.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FaerieGodfather wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
I've never had a problem with 1 level dips. What's the issue? It's often just another point of customization, and only in certain cases does it add a disproportionate amount of power.

Well, with the caveat that I don't care what other people do at their tables-- it makes a mockery of the very concept of a class system.

Like a number of 3e "innovations", it turned D&D into a more convoluted version of Rolemaster with less of its flexibility and none of its charm. It's still a great game, but the rotten spots made it so much less than it could have been-- dragging Pathfinder down with it.

Rollmaster is also a class based system.

As for class system, not all of us like it. I absolutely hated AD&D 1st edition because there was almost no customization. The second edition only looked better if you didn't look at competing products.

When your character concept doesn't fit into the nice tidy class delimitations that the designers set, multi classing is the way to create that character. It doesn't matter if your concept is the singing cowboy (bard or skald/gunslinger) or rogue with an animal buddy (rogue/ranger plus boon companion) there are a number of concepts that required multi classing in order to achieve them before they became their own class. Some of them still require multi classing.

When the product is released, there will be concepts that most likely require taking more than one class. It sounds like they will allow for more customization than we have seen in the past, but still I'm sure people will come up with reasonable concepts that require it.

Dark Archive

FangDragon wrote:
I understand some folks dip to build a character concepts not supported by the existing classes / archetypes. I don't have a problem with this. but I've never actually seen anyone do it (not even for an oradin). On the other hand I have seen dips used for powergaming reasons to make something thats rather strong for its level, I intently dislike that.

Hello, I am Ryuko! I am a civilized warrior, learned in a number of subjects including singing.

Bloodrager/Skald. Would have most certainly been more powerful in raw combat ability if I hadn't taken the skald levels, although they have given me flexibility and capabilities that pure bloodrager wouldn't have.

I took a two level dip. So would you consider this power gaming or building a concept?


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Multiclassin we have is fine and easy to understand. There's only some very specific cases of abusing this feature in 1e and I think they can be balanced with more level-scaling on the stuff. Sometimes even 1 level can really hurt your "main" class! There's a lot of factors in play here.

I do hate it in Starfinder, though. The balance in that game is kind of a joke. Soldier is pretty much the only class that gets to have fun at level 1 since it gets SO much more than anyone else early. So please don't make all classes suck and not have cool abilities 1 (specially not if you let 1 slide). Just the weapon and armor proficiencies alone without Blitz made the dip worth! Almost every class only got trash weapons and all the fun ones were locked behind this class.


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Planpanther wrote:
This is all moot because a blog post will be dropping any day telling us about VMC from unchained being the new way of PF2.

I sure hope not. I love Unchained, but some of the options in it were...less than stellar. VMC is very much one of those.


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FaerieGodfather wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
I've never had a problem with 1 level dips. What's the issue? It's often just another point of customization, and only in certain cases does it add a disproportionate amount of power.

Well, with the caveat that I don't care what other people do at their tables-- it makes a mockery of the very concept of a class system.

I'm of the camp that saw a level in a class as nothing more than a discreet packet of skills and abilities that a character had rather than something defitional (in general). The class / level thing was for balance, but wasn't seen as formal descreet things in the actual fiction of a game world (people don't say I'm a fighter, I'm a cleric - except as a description of profession).


A Ninja Errant wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
This is all moot because a blog post will be dropping any day telling us about VMC from unchained being the new way of PF2.
I sure hope not. I love Unchained, but some of the options in it were...less than stellar. VMC is very much one of those.

I'm thinking that one of the univesal archtypes will be a "dual class" archtype, where you pick two classes, and it tells you when you get either class abilitie, and has the class, skill, ancestory and general feat sctructure normal, and you can just use your class skills from either class. Maybe not the only class, but I can easily see that as an option.


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I don’t mind. At my table each multcilassing got to be validated by me as a DM, sale for my friends. We avoid broken build that way.

And to e honest a lot of dip come from stupid design. Just give us dex to melee already. Reduce the stupid feat taxes. And there will be less dip.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Or we can stop assuming class=character and see classes for the sacks of mechanics with optional flavor that they are and encourage players to create the character that inspires them.

That would be nice, if not for the fact that the "sacks of mechanics" only deliver them in a predefined order, and assumes almost always contrafactually that the first few levels of any class are worth nearly as much as the last few levels in any class.

You people keep defending this atrocity on the grounds of being able to "make any character you want", but the system does not allow you to do that at all and I honestly don't understand where you're getting that notion. You're only capable of meaningful customization at high level, building characters out of low-level pieces, with the majority of archetypes that don't line up neatly with an intentionally supported archetype completely ineffective.

The 3.PF class system, with multiclassing and Prestige Classes, is more flexible than Core AD&D's-- I will grant you-- but it doesn't hold a candle to Kits and Player's Option. Or the Rolemaster, which it so poorly imitates, which uses its class system to structure the kind of point-buy system people keep pretending 3.PF is.

BretI wrote:
Rollmaster is also a class based system.

Rolemaster is class-based, and multiclassing wasn't really a thing at all, but it was also a point-buy system that allowed you to buy almost everything Pathfinder calls class features-- with the "classes" only setting the price and speed at which you could purchase them.

BretI wrote:
As for class system, not all of us like it. I absolutely hated AD&D 1st edition because there was almost no customization. The second edition only looked better if you didn't look at competing products.

If you included supplements-- even just the PHBR series-- it was hands-down better than what you are currently defending.

BretI wrote:
When your character concept doesn't fit into the nice tidy class delimitations that the designers set, multi classing is the way to create that character.

You seem to be misunderstanding me, here. I am not arguing against the existence of any multiclassing system; on the contrary, I find multiclassing to be a necessity for any D&D-like game. I'm arguing against the continued existence of the dumpster fire multiclassing system that D&D 3.X and Pathfinder have been saddled with for the past eighteen years.

AD&D Kits and Player's Option were better. Fourth Edition's Feat, Paragon, and Hybrid multiclassing were better.

And Paizo is certainly capable of doing better, if they do not pick the worst possible moment to start listening to their fans.


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I think it's reasonable to make classes less front-loaded and instead have better stuff past level 5 is reasonable. It at least seems like dipping for proficiencies is a thing of the past since weapon and armor proficiencies are equivalent to skill proficiencies now, and to be really good at anything you need to keep investing ranks, so that eliminates a lot of dips.

So if all you get from a fighter dip is proficiencies you don't need to get and a low level fighter feat, it's a lot less attractive for non-fighters.


So you can "play the character you want", sometimes even by the final book in the AP?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FaerieGodfather wrote:
You people keep defending this atrocity on the grounds of being able to "make any character you want", but the system does not allow you to do that at all and I honestly don't understand where you're getting that notion.

I don’t have that notion. I believe it allows you to create characters that otherwise couldn’t be created. There is a difference between the two.

FaerieGodfather wrote:
BretI wrote:
As for class system, not all of us like it. I absolutely hated AD&D 1st edition because there was almost no customization. The second edition only looked better if you didn't look at competing products.
If you included supplements-- even just the PHBR series-- it was hands-down better than what you are currently defending.

PHBR? Must be something that came out after I completely abandoned AD&D for better classless systems.

I wasn’t saying the current system or simple variants of it were the best. I was saying that some sort of multiclassing was needed.

I only played first edition of Rollmaster, but I found it made things extremely costly if you were going outside your class. It had an interesting take on the magical system, but there were other things that were problematic for our group.

Right now, we have very little information on the classes and almost no information on multiclassing. We do know that there will be features locked behind class walls, but don’t know what they are nor if there are ways around it. We know that they have redone the underlying proficiency system, but don’t know all the details of how that will work.

It sounds like they are keeping some elements of the current multiclassing system, while allowing other things to be gotten without having to multiclass. I suspect we really willl not be able to see how it works until we see a couple of class tables.


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4E's Hybrid multiclassing would be a great way to go, if Paizo builds the classes correctly to begin with right out of the gate. For those who haven't seen it, conceptually the idea is that you bolt half of one class to half of a second class, like a lesser gestalt, and advance them simultaneously instead of having to stagger levels like in 3E/PF1. But to make this really work without it being awkwardly tacked on, and to allow people to represent a character whose trajectory through life changes at a later level after a life changing event, you need a number of design considerations right from day one:

  • Each class has to be built so that at any given level, it can be roughly separated into two halves of equal power.
  • The class build needs to be such that when you add a second class at a higher level, you keep your full features from the earlier levels in the first class, but can easily drop into this "half progression" at the level where you multiclass and all future levels. So when speccing a class feature at 1st or 2nd level, don't have the upgrades to higher tiers of that ability at higher levels listed in the same paragraph: break them into separate line entries in the class description.
  • For overriding class features like spellcasting and rage that you can't easily give up without not really being that class anymore, they need to be designed so there is a "full advancement" version and a "lesser advancement" version. So with spellcasting for example, you still advance your caster level. But you learn half as many new spells as the full advancement version, and you get half as many new mana points / spell slots / whatever. On a side note, this is a very good argument for finally killing the sacred cow of divine casters just automatically knowing their entire class spell list.
  • Other major class features can have this same philosophy, where you get a basic version if you pick it up as a half feature and the better version if you pick it up as a single-class feature. Maybe sneak attack or channel energy gives +2d4 as a single class but only +1d6 as a multiclass, since 2d4 has a higher minimum than 1d6 by 1, and higher max and average by 2, which makes 2d4 an appropriate reward for single class focus without being punitive by making the multiclass version 1d4.
  • For "base proficiencies" that a character gets at 1st level, like weapon and armor proficiencies and class skills, picking that class up as a multiclass at later level only gives you some of them. So you don't suddenly get all weapons and all armor by picking up fighter, or all skills by picking up rogue. On a side note, this is a very good argument for finally moving to weapon groups instead of universal "martial weapons."
  • We know that all classes get a choice of class feats every couple levels. A multiclass character just chooses which class to put that feat into, rather than getting both feats.
  • Features that are universal to all classes, like a standardized skill feat progression at levels X Y and Z, remain the same and don't really need to be touched when multiclassing.
  • Hit Points from the level where you start multiclassing become the average of your two classes. If this makes the average something like 6.5, you could be punitive and just round down to 6 per level, or you could be better and give 6,7,6,7,6,7...
  • You can only maintain two classes simultaneously at a time. If you pick up a third class, you do have to drop progression in one of your existing classes at any given level and only advance two of them.
  • Multiclassing this way and archetypes have to be built around each other to be compatible. However, this way of building classes actually makes it easier to build archetypes if done right, because an archetype can actually be treated as a "half class" that specifies which features you give up or drop down to the lesser tier.
  • If they do end up going with prestige classes as a "half class" "4E paragon path" that bolts onto your class, then you could potentially have your cake and eat it too by allowing a special kind of multiclass in place of a prestige class... adding "half progression" as above in one class, to full progression in your first class.


To be fair, there's supposed to be a blog post about multi-classing fairly soon and I suspect it will probably involve a move away from the 3e style 'pick a class each level' system which will likely be made obsolete by having different ways to acquire class feats


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The 4E hybrid system feels more like an archetype than multi-classing which is why I had a problem with it. Sometimes archetypes are satisfying but other times its not enough. Having both archetypes and 3E style multi-classing has been a blast.

Silver Crusade

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The 4e hybrid system worked surprisingly well. It might be difficult to combine with archetypes, though.

The difficulty with the PF multiclassing system is the limitations it places on class design. The designers have to restrict the amount of cool things you can get at low level, to limit dipping abuse. Unfortunately, this can mean you have to wait till 3rd level for your single class character to work properly (eg dex to dmg).


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I admit I haven't played 4e, but I have read through the core book and their multiclassing system was a huge turn off for me. It seemed like a really weak watered down substitute for multiclassing, plus it restricted you to only 2 classes.
Pretty much the same way I felt about VMC from Unchained.


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Why is dipping a bad thing? Your new level 1 ability never improves, and your main class abilities are slowed by a level. These dipping builds aren't overpowered, and are across the board reasonably balanced with their single-class counterparts. Sometimes they're a bit stronger, sometimes they're a bit weaker, but they bring a whole wealth of new options to the table.

There are a few classes for which multiclassing out is almost always preferable, but I'd regard that as a design issue with those classes (looking at you, gunslinger) and not a general issue with the multiclassing game system. If anything, I'd like to see multiclassing made more approachable for casters.

QuidEst wrote:
The dip that bugged me was Crossblooded Sorcerer to make Wizard better at stuff.

Crossblooded only really became a problem when the Orc bloodline came out, giving something to stack with Draconic. Aside from that one combination, Crossblooded is pretty lackluster as a dip and nigh-useless for single-class.

PlanPanther wrote:
This is all moot because a blog post will be dropping any day telling us about VMC from unchained being the new way of PF2.

I'm certainly afraid that may well be the case. VMC isn't multiclassing, and has never been a substitute for multiclassing. As I said when it came out, it's really more of a variant feat chain and doesn't fill the niche of multiclassing at all.

Multiclassing, fundamentally, is about giving up access to high-level abilities in your primary class to get access to low-level abilities in another class. The dipping "problem" isn't due just to tempting low-lying fruit, but also that the cost of continuing to divert levels away from your primary class is high.


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Dasrak wrote:
Why is dipping a bad thing? Your new level 1 ability never improves, and your main class abilities are slowed by a level.

You just answered your own question, to my perspective.

In an ideal Pathfinder some portion of level would be treated as effective level for class abilities.

Other published material has used 1/2 to excellent effect


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I honestly think some kind of variant multiclassing-like implementation could work, but I see Planpanther already beat me to the punch. But still, to to illustrate my point:
I'm not sure if pure VMC will be the best way to go (I'm guessing it'll lead to too powerful characters), but something like it could be helpful. I'm doing a quick sketch here, not very well thought out, but suppose the following. I'm a Cleric and I want to dip in Barbarian for a Strength boost. Say I want to dip into that at level 5, since I got an item or a story-related reason to dip. First level would grant me a minor "iconic" power, such as Rage, but not named as such, so the "Extra class feature" feats won't cheese it (or make it a rule that you can't get "extra class feature" feats if it isn't your primary class). In this instance, maybe a +2 STR/CON for 3 rounds per day. In addition, I get Barbarian progression in BAB, saves, HP, and so on. Two levels later, I unlock the "real" class feature, with all the features working as true class features. That means you can still basically act as that class if you want, but it's harder to cheese. Then, if you're fully committed, you unlock the "true" potential. That means dedicated people can multiclass and still profit up-front without being stupidly powerful, and min-maxers can't profit from it without really investing in it.

I just gave one example with one class feature, but I'm sure more class features can be implemented just as elegantly.

Or go with the Starfinder route and massively decrease the amount of bonuses you can collect. Getting to stack Morale with Enhancement, Luck, and so on only invites people to seek them all out. Get two or three total types of bonuses and multiple ways to get to them. That way, they overlap easier and people have to make a choice. It might lead to bad gameplay when you keep finding items that don't stack, but you can work around that, I think. Or give bonuses "slots," where you can only carry X amounts of bonuses at a time (either scalable with level, or a static amount). That prevents self-buffing monstrosities from existing, and buffing one direction means you neglect other aspects.


faeriegodfather wrote:
AD&D Kits and Player's Option were better. Fourth Edition's Feat, Paragon, and Hybrid multiclassing were better

Having played with both of those - nope! or more to the point you may have preferred their implementation, that doesn't make them better. If they were objectively better then I wouldn't hate them so much I wouldn't touch either with the proverbial 11' pole.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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What do people have against the Alchemist 1/Barbarian 1/Bard 1/Cleric 1/Druid 1/Fighter 1/Monk 1/Paladin 1/Ranger 1/Rogue 1/Sorcerer 1/Wizard 1 character?


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Dasrak wrote:
Why is dipping a bad thing? Your new level 1 ability never improves, and your main class abilities are slowed by a level.

Except that you can still boost those first-level powers. There are a lot of feats or items that grant extra rage rounds or boosts to certain powers. Dipping one level of Barbarian and the Extra Rage class feature allows you to rage for 10+ rounds a day, enough for 2 or 3 combats. Yeah, Rage doesn't turn into Greater Rage, but that +4 is already a lot. Swashbuckler dips get free Weapon Finesse, skips some prerequisites, gets some Panache and deeds, and so on. There's a lot of reasons why one level of something else can really boost your effectiveness, especially if you're not a caster-type.

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