multi-class, then return to original class?


Rules Questions


Is that allowed?

That is, could you take a fighter, multi-class into something else for a few levels, then return to taking fighter levels again? I'm aware from previous forums it seems mixing archetypes this way is banned, but if resuming with the same archetype as originally is it ok?


I think you're mixing up using different archetypes of a single class with taking levels in 2 separate classes. If you use an archetype for a class, you have to use that same archetype for every level you take of that class. For example, you can't suddenly take Trench Fighter levels if you've been using vanilla Fighter.

But you can take a level of a completely different class and then go back to the previous class with no problem on the next level. Lots of people take just a level or two of a class to get some benefits and then go back to the original class.


Mixing classes this way is totally fine, but mixing Archetypes is not.

Eg. You could go Fighter for 2 levels, then Rogue for 2 levels, then Fighter for 2 more levels, then Monk for 1 level, then Wizard for 3 levels, then Monk again for 2 more levels, then 8 levels of Barbarian (and now you're at 20). There's nothing wrong with that (well, you'll probably have a useless character, but you can do it if you want to).

But Archetypes don't change your class, they just change certain aspects of your class. An archetype usually has some positives and some negatives that balance out, but often they appear at different levels, so you have to take the whole package.

Essentially if you want to take an archetype in a class then every level in that class must be of that archetype. Taking our example from before, let's assume you wanted to take the ELDRITCH GUARDIAN archetype ("EG" for short) for your fighter, you would go: EG Fighter 2, Rogue 2, EG Fighter 2, Monk 1, Wizard 3, Monk 2, Barbarian 8. Again this is a perfectly legal - if under-powered - character.

You could even combine 2 archetypes as long as they don't change/replace the same class features. Let's say you wanted to go straight Fighter (no multi-classing), but you don't like some of the features, so you take the Eldritch Guardian archetype (which replaces your first 2 bonus feats as well as Bravery). You decide you still want to change some things, so you find an archetype that changes/replaces different abilities and you can add that on too. The BRAWLER archetype changes different things (Replaces Armour Training 1/2/3/4/Mastery, Weapons Training 1/2/3/4 and changes Weapon Mastery), so it's compatible with the Eldritch Guardian Archetype, so you can make a character that is both an Eldritch Guardian and a Brawler. You couldn't combine Eldritch Guardian with the CORSAIR archetype, since they both replace the Fighter's second level bonus feat.

What you can't do is take some levels of one archetype, then decide to change your archetype to another. So you couldn't take 1 level of Eldritch Guardian, then switch to Brawler at level 2 so that you get your bonus feat. If you want to go Eldritch Guardian or Brawler you have to commit all your Fighter levels to those archetypes (Although you could be an Eldritch-Guardian/Brawler Fighter for 3 levels, then Multiclass to Scaled-Fist Monk for 4 levels, then multiclass back to EG/B Fighter for X levels etc etc).


weathermancer wrote:

Is that allowed?

That is, could you take a fighter, multi-class into something else for a few levels, then return to taking fighter levels again?

Sure. Multiclassing like that is fine. There are certain things you can't do. Monks have to be Lawful. Barbarians can't be Lawful. So you couldn't play a Monk, take a level in Barbarian, then take more levels in Monk unless you could.

weathermancer wrote:
I'm aware from previous forums it seems mixing archetypes this way is banned, but if resuming with the same archetype as originally is it ok?

You could, for instance be a Monk with the Martial Artist Archetype. Martial Artist Monks do not have to be Lawful. A Monk like that might then take a level in Barbarian, then go back to taking levels in Monk. Otherwise, without some other kind of workaround, you would not be allowed to take more levels in Monk since you are no longer Lawful.

MrCharisma wrote:
What you can't do is take some levels of one archetype, then decide to change your archetype to another.

There are times when you could add an archetype with no problems as long as the 2 archetypes do not change the same class features, and as long as the change doesn't affect anything.

For instance, you can be a Drunken Master of Many Styles. The Drunken Master Archetype doesn't change anything from the base class until level 3. There shouldn't be a problem with waiting to declare your change until your 3rd level in Monk before telling the GM you are adding Drunken Master. I've done this in PFS.

Adding, dropping, or Switching Archetypes is otherwise problematic. You'd need to retrain.


To give a concise answer, every time you take a level you can take it in any class you like (unless alignment restrictions or prerequisites of prestige classes are in the way), but if you select an archetype for a class, you can never take levels in that class without an archetype for that character.

So if you select the Eldritch Guardian archetype, you can only take Fighter levels with that archetype from that point on.

Heather 540 wrote:
If you use an archetype for a class, you have to use that same archetype for every level you take of that class. For example, you can't suddenly take Trench Fighter levels if you've been using vanilla Fighter.

Actually, that's not correct. You can select an archetype at later levels without retraining if the new archetype would not have made any changes to your class yet. So when you're levelling up with two levels in Fighter, you can still decide to pick Trench Fighter, after your third Fighter level, you're stuck with it.

"Note that you don’t have to use the retraining rules to take an archetype if your class level is low enough that the archetype doesn’t modify any of your current class abilities." UCamp pg. 189


For the OP think of archetypes as how the character views that class. If you're one type of archetype and have features changed by it (say urban barbarian) than that's how the character levels as a barbarian. You can't change that. Far as he is concerned, barbarian levels mean urban barbarian.

As others have pointed out, though, you can stack a few on so long as they don't change the same things. So a freebooter ranger a trapper ranger and a freebooter/trapper ranger are all different types of how to play rangers and totally valid (if I'm remembering right on stacking)

I have seen as many as 3 archetypes stacks on a player in play and there is very likely some combos that could do 4, totally making the character unrecognizable from its parent class.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
What you can't do is take some levels of one archetype, then decide to change your archetype to another.

There are times when you could add an archetype with no problems as long as the 2 archetypes do not change the same class features, and as long as the change doesn't affect anything.

For instance, you can be a Drunken Master of Many Styles. The Drunken Master Archetype doesn't change anything from the base class until level 3. There shouldn't be a problem with waiting to declare your change until your 3rd level in Monk before telling the GM you are adding Drunken Master. I've done this in PFS.

Adding, dropping, or Switching Archetypes is otherwise problematic. You'd need to retrain.

Thank you for clarifying, this is correct.

Derklord wrote:
Heather 540 wrote:
If you use an archetype for a class, you have to use that same archetype for every level you take of that class. For example, you can't suddenly take Trench Fighter levels if you've been using vanilla Fighter.

Actually, that's not correct. You can select an archetype at later levels without retraining if the new archetype would not have made any changes to your class yet. So when you're levelling up with two levels in Fighter, you can still decide to pick Trench Fighter, after your third Fighter level, you're stuck with it.

"Note that you don’t have to use the retraining rules to take an archetype if your class level is low enough that the archetype doesn’t modify any of your current class abilities." UCamp pg. 189

This is more correct, thank you as well (Archetype-stacking has more rules to it than I remembered).


The archetype mixing thing seems to require a good deal of homework so I won't be bothering with it, but for returning to the original class it's good to know that's fine.

Thanks everyone for your help.

Shadow Lodge

weathermancer wrote:

The archetype mixing thing seems to require a good deal of homework so I won't be bothering with it, but for returning to the original class it's good to know that's fine.

Thanks everyone for your help.

If you are interested in Archetype stacking, d20PFSRD.com is helpful as its class entries chart out which class features are and aren't impacted by each archetype. Just note that:

  • a) This is a third party site, so accuracy is not guaranteed (for example, the 'Mouser' line for Swashbuckler does not indicate that it actually impacts Bleeding Wound and therefore can't be stacked with any archetype other than the Corsair or the Musketeer) and
  • b) Specific archetype names might be changed for legal reasons (for example, the 'Dawnflower Dervish' archetype for bards is listed as Dervish of Dawn (despite the actual url) and the worship requirement is 'generalized' from 'Must be a worshiper of Sarenrae' to 'must be a worshiper the goddess of dawn' because these specific names are Paizo's Intellectual Property).


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^The archetype table entries on www.d20pfsrd.com definitely have mistakes in them, even for those archetypes that they have (and they are often not complete). So it is helpful for the older archetypes of older classes, but you have to check everything yourself with a fine-tooth comb.


I often use the Pathbuilder app for this purpose. Its hardly perfect either but they do their best and its updated often to fix that if people see it and report it. And its nice to know with a button press what stacks with what.


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One other thing that I do not think has been mentioned yet: Archetypes only affect the particular class they modify, not the character as a whole.

By way of example, a Rogue with the Bandit archetype gives up the Uncanny Dodge ability. If they multiclassed as (say) Barbarian, they would get Uncanny Dodge right on schedule unless that also took a Barbarian archetype that swapped it out (Scarred Rager perhaps).

_
glass.

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