Why Not PF1-Style Multi-Classing?


Advice

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

One of the main problems with PF1 style MC is that it was actually really bad at accomplishing its main goals. Actually splitting your levels tended to just kind of make you suck at everything rather than feeling like someone with a split focus. So PF1 multiclassing was for the most part relegated to strategic dipping for certain class features... or more likely something you just ignored entirely. Seriously for all the talk about the sanctity of dipping here, if PF1 didn't have multiclassing at all the vast majority of characters I've seen in games or online wouldn't even notice a change.

PF2's feat focused multiclassing then is focused on allowing you better emulate a split-focused character. A fighter who spends feats to become an MC wizard is overall a much more functional character while still managing to capture that battlemage style. You're going to be both a better fighter and a better wizard than your split-level PF1 counterpart.

There are downsides to that change, as it turns feats into an incredibly tight bottleneck for characters and it means things either come online very slowly or restrict your ability to branch out (whereas having both levels AND feats as progression gave you extra layers of customization).

And while overall I think it's better for realizing hybrid concepts, it's not tuned great. My above example of a fighter/wizard is an excellent martial who becomes a good spellcaster over time, but a wizard/fighter remains pretty terrible at swinging a sword no matter how many feats they spend on their fighter MC.

I dunno, the wizard only winds up 2 points behind most martials for accuracy and winds up with a lot more spell slots to buff with than the fighter who multiclassed wizard. Or just blast and bash with.

The two characters feel fairly equal to me. A better example might be comparing fighter/wizard to fighter/sorcerer. The latter lacks heightening or spell choice compared to the former.

Fighters have much more than just accuracy, though. Like armor proficiency that scales all the way up to Master, along with specialization, and HP to go with. A Wizard that's MC'd into Fighter cannot actually keep themselves alive in a fight, at least not at higher levels where their poor progression will get them critted into the dirt for trying.

Fighters also have a host of maritally-oriented class features and some of the best martial actions in the game.

You can get away with having a more ho-hum spellcasting proficiency because there's plenty of spells that either target saves (going for weak saves is an option), don't require a roll at all, or at least provide a tactical benefit that you can't recreate by just swinging your sword harder and is worth taking that risk for.

The same's not really true for physical attacks and armor. Your martial proficiency in a weapon is competing with your cantrips which benefit from your higher % chance to hit. You really need those numbers.

A Fighter dipping into Wizard gets something they'll probably make a lot of use out of. A Wizard dipping into Fighter has to contrive a lot more to get value out of the MC, since it's just so risky to attempt (and requires both a STR and DEX investment because f~%+ you I guess). That's not to say that Wizards suck, because they have spellcasting, it's just that they're so good at spellcasting that being a really s@%!ty Fighter isn't going to mesh. Mediocre or bad spellcasting is a lot easier to work into great martial caapbiltiies than the inverse.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

One of the main problems with PF1 style MC is that it was actually really bad at accomplishing its main goals. Actually splitting your levels tended to just kind of make you suck at everything rather than feeling like someone with a split focus. So PF1 multiclassing was for the most part relegated to strategic dipping for certain class features... or more likely something you just ignored entirely. Seriously for all the talk about the sanctity of dipping here, if PF1 didn't have multiclassing at all the vast majority of characters I've seen in games or online wouldn't even notice a change.

PF2's feat focused multiclassing then is focused on allowing you better emulate a split-focused character. A fighter who spends feats to become an MC wizard is overall a much more functional character while still managing to capture that battlemage style. You're going to be both a better fighter and a better wizard than your split-level PF1 counterpart.

There are downsides to that change, as it turns feats into an incredibly tight bottleneck for characters and it means things either come online very slowly or restrict your ability to branch out (whereas having both levels AND feats as progression gave you extra layers of customization).

And while overall I think it's better for realizing hybrid concepts, it's not tuned great. My above example of a fighter/wizard is an excellent martial who becomes a good spellcaster over time, but a wizard/fighter remains pretty terrible at swinging a sword no matter how many feats they spend on their fighter MC.

I dunno, the wizard only winds up 2 points behind most martials for accuracy and winds up with a lot more spell slots to buff with than the fighter who multiclassed wizard. Or just blast and bash with.

The two characters feel fairly equal to me. A better example might be comparing fighter/wizard to fighter/sorcerer. The latter lacks heightening or spell choice compared to the former.

Fighters have much more than just accuracy, though. Like armor proficiency that scales all the way up to Master, along with specialization, and HP to go with. A Wizard that's MC'd into Fighter cannot actually keep themselves alive in a fight, at least not at higher levels where their poor progression will get them critted into the dirt for trying.

Fighters also have a host of maritally-oriented class features and some of the best martial actions in the game.

You can get away with having a more ho-hum spellcasting proficiency because there's plenty of spells that either target saves (going for weak saves is an option), don't require a roll at all, or at least provide a tactical benefit that you can't recreate by just swinging your sword harder and is worth taking that risk for.

The same's not really true for physical attacks and armor. Your martial proficiency in a weapon is competing with your cantrips which benefit from your higher % chance to hit. You really need those numbers.

A Fighter dipping into Wizard gets something they'll probably make a lot of use out of. A Wizard dipping into Fighter has to contrive a lot more to get value out of the MC, since it's just so risky to attempt (and requires both a STR and DEX investment because f#@! you I guess). That's not to say that Wizards suck, because they have spellcasting, it's just that they're so good at spellcasting that being a really s$~@ty Fighter isn't going to mesh. Mediocre or bad spellcasting is a lot easier to work into great martial caapbiltiies than the inverse.


Helmic wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

One of the main problems with PF1 style MC is that it was actually really bad at accomplishing its main goals. Actually splitting your levels tended to just kind of make you suck at everything rather than feeling like someone with a split focus. So PF1 multiclassing was for the most part relegated to strategic dipping for certain class features... or more likely something you just ignored entirely. Seriously for all the talk about the sanctity of dipping here, if PF1 didn't have multiclassing at all the vast majority of characters I've seen in games or online wouldn't even notice a change.

PF2's feat focused multiclassing then is focused on allowing you better emulate a split-focused character. A fighter who spends feats to become an MC wizard is overall a much more functional character while still managing to capture that battlemage style. You're going to be both a better fighter and a better wizard than your split-level PF1 counterpart.

There are downsides to that change, as it turns feats into an incredibly tight bottleneck for characters and it means things either come online very slowly or restrict your ability to branch out (whereas having both levels AND feats as progression gave you extra layers of customization).

And while overall I think it's better for realizing hybrid concepts, it's not tuned great. My above example of a fighter/wizard is an excellent martial who becomes a good spellcaster over time, but a wizard/fighter remains pretty terrible at swinging a sword no matter how many feats they spend on their fighter MC.

I dunno, the wizard only winds up 2 points behind most martials for accuracy and winds up with a lot more spell slots to buff with than the fighter who multiclassed wizard. Or just blast and bash with.

The two characters feel fairly equal to me. A better example might be comparing fighter/wizard to fighter/sorcerer. The latter lacks heightening or spell choice compared to the former.

Fighters have...

right and the fighter/wizard is using all their spells on combat and the wizard/fighter probably has some utility spells and the like. a wizard/fighter is probably rocking mage armor while the fighter/wizard is not, etc. the wizard base is doing more wizard things and less fighting things, but they absolutely can still stab or shoot people semi-regularly.

Shadow Lodge

Hrothgar Rannúlfr wrote:

Why is multi-classing only available via archetypes in PF2?

Why didn't PF2 keep PF1-Style multi-classing?

Might as well ask why your flashlight uses AA instead of D batteries.

Shadow Lodge

Wow, so much hate on 1st ed MC. I made 26 full characters for PFS, only 4 of them stayed single-class. There's only one reason NOT to, and that's spell progression.

Especially gunslingers. Mechanics aside, unless you dip them into something else they're boring to play. That problem at least is still solved in 2nd ed style.


Bandw2 wrote:
right and the fighter/wizard is using all their spells on combat and the wizard/fighter probably has some utility spells and the like. a wizard/fighter is probably rocking mage armor while the fighter/wizard is not, etc. the wizard base is doing more wizard things and less fighting things, but they absolutely can still stab or shoot people semi-regularly.

The thing is that a Wizard already has cantrips that more or less do what their weapon would be doing, and to use that weapon requires taking a lot of risks. Stuff like mage armor are simply spending resources to try to get a bit more parity and are utterly dwarfed by the differences in proficiency, it's really just a +1 AC spell when you're 2-3 AC behind already.

The spells do things a Fighter can't do already. The Fighter MC benefits.. don't really do the same for the Wizard. Melee is dangerous and requires things like HP and AC to not be critted into the dirt, it's not something that can be done as casually as martials can dabble in magic. Like, a Fighter can even just take an Ancestry or Skill feat to pick up a random lone cantrip, and even just that represents a real increase in options and capabilities, you can do magic extremely well without a high spellcasting bonus. Wizards are already capable of dealing some amount of damage, so the ability to do so with a sword at a lower bonus than your cantrips to hit/crit is much hard to justify when it's riskier, there's not really any weapons that ignore your weapon proficiency nor armor that's fantastic even if you're only Trained.

thistledown wrote:

Wow, so much hate on 1st ed MC. I made 26 full characters for PFS, only 4 of them stayed single-class. There's only one reason NOT to, and that's spell progression.

Especially gunslingers. Mechanics aside, unless you dip them into something else they're boring to play. That problem at least is still solved in 2nd ed style.

It's not that no one multiclassed in PF1, it's that the form it took was very... inelegant, and favored extremely exploity/cheesy builds. Like you said, it was more of a "why would you not?" situation where a 1 or 2 level dip was taken because your main class stopped having good things to give you or this other class had some tasty treats in its early levels. It wasn't really done because you wanted the concept of that class, it was very much a matter of optimization. And any MC'ing outside of a heavily optmization-focused mindset was probably going to fail spectacularly.


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I mean, why did people stop being gunslingers after 5th level? Was it "for narrative reasons, my character became disinterested in slinging guns, and found something they liked better"? Almost certainly not; it was because after you get dex to damage with guns there wasn't much very attractive about the class. It was purely a mechanical decision.

It's not like all those characters just decided swashbuckling wasn't for them, and took up investigating. It's just that the investigator lacked a functional combat suite before like 4th level and the inspired blade gives them one at 1st.

But if we just build classes so that "no class is going to run out of steam" we're going to avoid the gunslinger problem, because you're going to want those higher level class feats and features, Since we don't have to worry about dipping, we can avoid the swashtigator problem, by frontloading classes with enough stuff to make them viable without worrying about being too strong as a dip.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The primary reasons for a Wizard to multi-class into fighter are because they want weapons that do not suck and fighter feats. If you are an elf you can already get weapons that do not suck without using valuable class feats.

The issue is that wizards are much closer to the martial classes than they have ever been. Their hit points and armor class already do not completely suck in comparison. They have little reason to multi class for survival reasons. So the only compelling reason is to be better at using weapons.


Campbell wrote:
One of the fundamental issues with level by level multi-classing from a design perspective is that you cannot grant powerful class defining features at first level. This means you are several levels in before your character really feels like their class.

This is the main issue for me. PF1-style multiclassing would incentivize a whole bunch of one-level dips:

Fighter for expert weapon proficiencies and shield block and attacks of opplrtunity
Ranger for hunter's edge
Rogue for sneak attack and surprise attack and Dex to damage
Champion for shield block and retributive strike
Monk for good saves and flurry of blowz

Avoiding that problem requires removing these abilities at 1st level and making the classes feel less like their respective classes.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think at it's core it comes down to the fact they tried a new design & feedback in the playtest was "OMG YES!"... so it stayed into the release.

I for one love the new multi-classing, it's much more beginner-friendly than the old one & still lets me build my non-standard character concepts in ways that feel both mechanically and thematically correct. It actually does a much better job in my view of making that transition gradual and less mechanically spikey than 1E multiclass dips.


The Rot Grub wrote:
Campbell wrote:
One of the fundamental issues with level by level multi-classing from a design perspective is that you cannot grant powerful class defining features at first level. This means you are several levels in before your character really feels like their class.

This is the main issue for me. PF1-style multiclassing would incentivize a whole bunch of one-level dips:

Fighter for expert weapon proficiencies and shield block and attacks of opplrtunity
Ranger for hunter's edge
Rogue for sneak attack and surprise attack and Dex to damage
Champion for shield block and retributive strike
Monk for good saves and flurry of blowz

Avoiding that problem requires removing these abilities at 1st level and making the classes feel less like their respective classes.

I imagine that a homebrew PF1-style MC system would do what 5e did and just not give you literally everything from a class. You don't get all the weapon and armor proficiencies when you MC in 5e, for example. I imagine someone writing homebrew may opt to adjust powerful class feats to be replaced by their weaker archetype feat variants. Classes might be more aggressively readjusted to avoid making dipping worse than it was in earlier editions. Forcing you to take levels a class until it takes up at least 1/3 of your total levels before you may level up another class (existing or new). There's ways to bandage it to sorta work.

I wouldn't use it myself as I think PF2's system is far superior as a framework, but I do see why some would want to continue messing with the older system to see how the different moving parts can be hacked together.


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Helmic wrote:
The Rot Grub wrote:
Campbell wrote:
One of the fundamental issues with level by level multi-classing from a design perspective is that you cannot grant powerful class defining features at first level. This means you are several levels in before your character really feels like their class.

This is the main issue for me. PF1-style multiclassing would incentivize a whole bunch of one-level dips:

Fighter for expert weapon proficiencies and shield block and attacks of opplrtunity
Ranger for hunter's edge
Rogue for sneak attack and surprise attack and Dex to damage
Champion for shield block and retributive strike
Monk for good saves and flurry of blowz

Avoiding that problem requires removing these abilities at 1st level and making the classes feel less like their respective classes.

I imagine that a homebrew PF1-style MC system would do what 5e did and just not give you literally everything from a class. You don't get all the weapon and armor proficiencies when you MC in 5e, for example. I imagine someone writing homebrew may opt to adjust powerful class feats to be replaced by their weaker archetype feat variants. Classes might be more aggressively readjusted to avoid making dipping worse than it was in earlier editions. Forcing you to take levels a class until it takes up at least 1/3 of your total levels before you may level up another class (existing or new). There's ways to bandage it to sorta work.

I wouldn't use it myself as I think PF2's system is far superior as a framework, but I do see why some would want to continue messing with the older system to see how the different moving parts can be hacked together.

I wouldn't disparage someone trying that, but a lot of those changes do seem like they'd be moving closer and closer to the system PF2 already has.


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Helmic wrote:
A Fighter dipping into Wizard gets something they'll probably make a lot of use out of. A Wizard dipping into Fighter has to contrive a lot more to get value out of the MC, since it's just so risky to attempt (and requires both a STR and DEX investment because f&~~ you I guess). That's not to say that Wizards suck, because they have spellcasting, it's just that they're so good at spellcasting that being a really s+++ty Fighter isn't going to mesh. Mediocre or bad spellcasting is a lot easier to work into great martial caapbiltiies than the inverse.

It's because you make the assumption that Fighter = melee. Shooting an arrow is a formidable third action for a Wizard specialized in save or suck spells.


Everyone else has already pointed out why 2e multiclassing is designed the way it is, which I agree with. But just for the sake of a thought experiment, let's say we're homebrewing 1e multiclassing back into the game.

The basic idea can be fairly simple, since your total level is always added to everything you're at least trained in, so some basic level of scaling is assured by default. You get ability score increases, general feats, ancestry feats, skill feats and skill increases at the expected levels. Your levels in your classes otherwise count separately for class feat prerequisites.

Since 2e classes are so front-loaded, I feel like characters should not get any initial proficiencies from their second class other than class or spellcasting DC. Proficiency increases also shouldn't stack, so if you get expert in something you're already expert in, you get nothing from that feature. If a proficiency increase would raises a proficiency level by more than one step, you only raise it by one step. For example, a wizard 5/fighter 5 becomes expert in a weapon group instead of master. The problem with this approach is that multiclass characters would inevitably be 2 points or more behind on most proficiencies, compared to single-class characters, but I have no clue how to balance that. For saves and perception you can at least pick up Canny Acumen, so it's not a big deal. Armor, weapons, spellcasting, and class DCs is the main concern here.

Playtesting something like this for balance would be a monumental task.


ikarinokami wrote:
I wish we could get 2nd edition multiclassing back, still my favorite.

You'd have to rewrite the experience system to be more like AD&D, which isn't a small change. Characters in AD&D are much closer in level progression when you split their XPs across two classes. 540,000 XP gets you a 10th level Fighter or an 11th level Wizard, or a 9th/10th Fighter/Wizard. That's not what you'd get out of splitting those XPs equally in 3e/PF/PF2.


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Frogliacci wrote:
Since 2e classes are so front-loaded, I feel like characters should not get any initial proficiencies from their second class other than class or spellcasting DC.

Two proficiency tracks. Use whichever is greater: the better class's track using JUST that class's track, or something which corresponds to the total level on the weaker class's track. Fine tuning could be with an X level penalty or bonus or something.

A few classes might have some issues, but that seems like a good starting point to me.


james014Aura wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
Since 2e classes are so front-loaded, I feel like characters should not get any initial proficiencies from their second class other than class or spellcasting DC.

Two proficiency tracks. Use whichever is greater: the better class's track using JUST that class's track, or something which corresponds to the total level on the weaker class's track. Fine tuning could be with an X level penalty or bonus or something.

A few classes might have some issues, but that seems like a good starting point to me.

We could grant a subset of level 1 abilities when multiclassing out of both initial proficiencies, AND first level class features.

Obviously class/spellcasting DC has to be included, plus some amount of training/expertise in weapons and armor when essential for the class to function (eg. alchemical weapons training for multiclassing alchemists. probably expertise in simple and martial weapons for fighters). For everything else it would depend. A multiclass fighter probably shouldn't get attack of opportunity automatically (although they can get it from a class feat). Multiclass bards and druids wouldn't start with a muse or order, but they can similar get it with class feats (Multifarious Muse, Order Explorer).

Basically starting abilities would have to be written separately for each class, just like D&D 5e.


That isn't PF1 style multi-classing either. You're basically just going the other route on how to fix all the things that were broken with the old system.


Arachnofiend wrote:
That isn't PF1 style multi-classing either. You're basically just going the other route on how to fix all the things that were broken with the old system.

It's a lot closer than what we have, though.

A strict port of 1e multiclassing would just make dipping the most powerful option by far. At level 2 you can easily have expert in all saves, all weapons, and all armors.


A fighter 1 /monk 1 would have expert in all saves, simple/martial/unarmed and unarmored, but I don't see any way to get expert in light, medium or heavy that early.


Squiggit wrote:
A fighter 1 /monk 1 would have expert in all saves, simple/martial/unarmed and unarmored, but I don't see any way to get expert in light, medium or heavy that early.

I somehow thought champions start with expert in armor. Ignore that then.

I'm just trying to point out that porting 1e multiclassing into 2e would necessarily need to restrict the amount of starting abilities you get from taking another class to prevent dipping from becoming too powerful. But other than that you can distribute your levels between your classes however you like, which is the core of PF1e/3.5 multiclassing.


Frogliacci wrote:
I'm just trying to point out that porting 1e multiclassing into 2e would necessarily need to restrict the amount of starting abilities you get from taking another class to prevent dipping from becoming too powerful. But other than that you can distribute your levels between your classes however you like, which is the core of PF1e/3.5 multiclassing.

Dipping to poach powerful low level abilities kind of is the core of 3.5/PF1 multiclassing though.

5e multiclassing is pretty good, but it's a radically different beast too.


Squiggit wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
I'm just trying to point out that porting 1e multiclassing into 2e would necessarily need to restrict the amount of starting abilities you get from taking another class to prevent dipping from becoming too powerful. But other than that you can distribute your levels between your classes however you like, which is the core of PF1e/3.5 multiclassing.

Dipping to poach powerful low level abilities kind of is the core of 3.5/PF1 multiclassing though.

5e multiclassing is pretty good, but it's a radically different beast too.

Having played both 5e and PF1e a lot, I really wouldn't say 5e multiclassing is radically different. It's a different implementation to be sure, but the intent feels pretty much the same as opposed to how PF2e does multiclassing. PF1e/3.5 rewarding dips and punishing equal distributions of classes really doesn't feel like the core intent of the system, more like a side effect.


Helmic wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
right and the fighter/wizard is using all their spells on combat and the wizard/fighter probably has some utility spells and the like. a wizard/fighter is probably rocking mage armor while the fighter/wizard is not, etc. the wizard base is doing more wizard things and less fighting things, but they absolutely can still stab or shoot people semi-regularly.

The thing is that a Wizard already has cantrips that more or less do what their weapon would be doing, and to use that weapon requires taking a lot of risks. Stuff like mage armor are simply spending resources to try to get a bit more parity and are utterly dwarfed by the differences in proficiency, it's really just a +1 AC spell when you're 2-3 AC behind already.

The spells do things a Fighter can't do already. The Fighter MC benefits.. don't really do the same for the Wizard. Melee is dangerous and requires things like HP and AC to not be critted into the dirt, it's not something that can be done as casually as martials can dabble in magic. Like, a Fighter can even just take an Ancestry or Skill feat to pick up a random lone cantrip, and even just that represents a real increase in options and capabilities, you can do magic extremely well without a high spellcasting bonus. Wizards are already capable of dealing some amount of damage, so the ability to do so with a sword at a lower bonus than your cantrips to hit/crit is much hard to justify when it's riskier, there's not really any weapons that ignore your weapon proficiency nor armor that's fantastic even if you're only Trained.

Imagine if you will a wizard with a short bow, who picks up assisting shot or maybe has a shield and grabs all the shield feats, there are tons of reasons to grab fighter feats other than i want to stab things now. that mixed with fighter resiliency is pretty decent.

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