There are reasons why you might want to switch careers in real life. You may no longer resonate with the path you have chosen. You could be bored. You may come across something that gives you a greater sense of purpose. Perhaps you want to diversify and have something to fall back on in case your career goes south.
In D&D Next, multiclassing represents that moment where a character decides that, for one reason or the other, he will begin a new journey of self discovery in his life.
To some, this is ill-advised since perseverance and specialisation is often well rewarded. On the other hand, some see multiclassing as a path to versatility.
A Little Of Everything
It is not easy to drop something you have been doing since forever and pick up another profession readily without having the natural talent for it. To this end, D&D Next requires each character to meet ability prerequisites before they even think about making the switch.
So you’re a mage and now you want to be a fighter? Fine, give me 50 push-ups while someone is standing on your back and you’re in. In other words, you need to be exceptionally strong in order to pass the gruelling physical trials and succeed as a fighter.
Because of this, ‘dipping’ into classes just for the class abilities alone will no longer be a smooth process, like it was with D&D 3.5.
That said, it is possible for a clever, dexterity-based fighter using the elite array to start taking rogue levels at level 2 and learn to use arcane magic by level 6. The only problem with this is that a character would be spread a bit too thin over several disciplines, though the trade off would be increased versatility.
The abilities gained from each class you take when multiclassing is determined by how many levels you take in that particular class. For example, if you are a level 3 rogue and level 9 wizard, you gain the abilities of a level 3 rogue and level 9 wizard, rather than all the features of a level 12 rogue and level 12 wizard.
The Boy Has Talent
There are some features that will be determined by your overall character level. One such feature is the proficiency bonus which boosts your key skills and abilities. This means that if your character gains a rogue level after being a wizard for most of his life, he automatically becomes proficient at picking locks, disabling traps and whatever else a rogue is good at.
With this, you can see that the stringent attribute score prerequisites make multiclassing a bit more believable in the sense that if someone could pick up new skills relatively quickly, there has to be a logical reason for it. This is represented by the high attribute prerequisites for each class (dexterity for rogues, strength for fighters and so on), which indicates the level of talent that a character must have in order to be successful.
There are also some special rules for multiclassing from one spellcasting class to another. You obtain knowledge of new spells to add to your repertoire, but your capacity for preparing and casting spells in any 24 hour period is determined by the total number of levels you have in spellcasting classes.
This prevents you from increasing the number of spells that you can cast in one day by multiclassing, as with D&D 3.5. It’s logical when you consider that the human mind has a remarkable capacity for learning, but it can still only process and memorize so much at the same time.
It’s like a chest of drawers full of clothes – you cannot set aside one drawer for books and still expect to hold as many clothes as before.
The prerequisites for multiclassing should force players to think a bit more carefully about the process of multiclassing and how it meshes with the development of your character, rather than picking and choosing the best of everything in order to create a character built for effectiveness alone.
I get the feeling that it will make more sense to stick to a single class unless there is a specific character concept that calls for multiclassing, especially considering a lot of the best stuff is found at around levels 18-20.
What do you think about multiclassing? Would you welcome the more stringent requirements and feel as though players in the past have gotten away with too much when it comes to multiclassing? Or do you feel that the requirements do nothing but stifle creativity?