Multiclassing & Story
There are frequently benefits to multiclassing your characters, giving your fighter a level of rogue or barbarian can really up his damage output, or perhaps a little paladin or cleric can make him a greater utility to the group. Giving your monk a few sorcerer spells can really change the way she plays in combat without compromising her usefulness, or perhaps some ranger to turn her into a serious close-range menace.
But why? Surely you’re not just chasing numbers and making a more effective combat-unit, or chasing some build that you found on a forum to break the game. Your character shouldn’t just be a collection of stats on a piece of paper because that ceases to be role-playing, but there’s no need to avoid multiclassing because it doesn’t fit, and if it works in your story then you should absolutely add a level of a class that makes no sense. Like bard…
I’m kidding, bards are fine.
Here are a few examples of how to mix and match while keeping your story straight. A couple of my own and some of the “min/maxing” options that other people have found in 5th edition D&D (all hail 5th edition) but it should serve well as a jumping-off point.
At the table: The cleric’s arms and armour make for a descent combatant with quality support spells for myself and the rest of the group. Wizards are light and squishy and generally lack in spells that heal, or protect anyone else but themselves. A few levels of each should be able to account for the gaps in each class’s abilities, and it gives more spell slots than I’d ever use, even if they’re a lower level than most characters my level.
As a character: There are far more books in this world than holy writ, and I enjoy reading. Every new scholar I talk to offers me some new insight into the workings of the world, each library has a dearth of new knowledge, and every lesson brings power. I have not turned my back on my faith, I remain as I ever was, a pilgrim in an unholy land, but keeping my friends in one piece is no longer enough to help me complete my journey.
At the table: I want a monk who can lay some de-buff spells and deal some damage before big creatures that can wipe out my relatively low hit points have a chance to close in. There are builds for the monk that would do some of the job but a multiclass is worth the experiment. Dragon sorcery makes my character more durable and effective at close range, but chaos sorcery lends an element of surprise that makes being in the middle of the action far more entertaining.
As a character: A lifetime of meditation and study may have all been for naught when my powers manifested themselves. The Monastery could no longer permit me to stay, and so I was turned lose upon the world to learn how to control my new found magical abilities alone. I clung to my inner disciplines despite the conflict that rages within me, and I use my understanding of what is within, and without to channel my magic.
At the table: It takes a little permissive DMing to allow for sneak attack in beast-form as certain necessary parts of the rules of sneak attack that should realistically prevent it. Still, a rogue that can turn into a rat, eagle, or cast a variety of spells like fog-cloud, pass without trace or longstride, could potentially prove to be a far more versatile scout, escape artist and thief than the common-or-garden pickpocket.
As a character: Torn from the wilderness I called home by a higher calling, I have spent enough time amongst the “civilised folk” to know that I prefer the company of the lawless inhabitants of the towns and cities I’ve visited so far, and they most certainly like me. I have learnt to navigate this world of hewn stone like a forest, every full pocket is a fruit-laden bush, the rooftops are a canopy, the sewers a burrow, and I have become their warden now. There aren’t enough trees in the city, but there’s not enough coin in the forest for me any more.
At the table: Paladins are great at keeping themselves and the party alive while they take a lot of the actual glory from combat. Granted a Paladin can do an extraordinary amount of damage in the right situations but combat can be too short to allow for it. The warlock allows for rapidly-replenishing spells that let the paladin fill out a greater range of roles in combat, and adapt to situations that would have otherwise left this character out of the action. And having a weapon I can summon out of thin air might be cool too.
As a character: Oathbreaker is a strong word, especially when I have held the powers granted to me by the Moon God even as she watched me seal my pact with the Unseelie Court. Fey are fickle beings, one and all, and while the church may condemn me clearly I have not been forsaken, quite the reverse. I am a force of peace, a blade in tranquil hands, I stalk the night shadows for those unnatural fiends that the light of the moon was not strong enough to banish.
And so to you good people, what multiclass mixtures have you tried out, and who was the person behind the stats? Did it work? Did you care? Any genre’s and systems welcome. Share your stories in the comments down below or on our Facebook page.