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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other A Feat to Let you Build Multiclass Spellcasters



Deepbluediver
2017-10-15, 06:24 PM
As I'm sure everyone knows by now, there are all kinds of crazy and interesting multi-class builds you can make for melee-characters (and to a lesser extent, skill-monkeys). That's because all the stuff you care about: BAB, HP, feats, saves, etc. stacks, and many of the base melee classes font-load their most interesting abilities.

However, there's no real support or incentive to build any kind of multi-class caster, because your spell-slots don't stack. And most people seem to agree that fewer higher-level spell slots are more appealing than a greater number of lower-level spell slots (which is why the Mystic Theurge never won any popularity contests). You can of course build your own hybrid if none of the gish-in-a-can classes suit you, but that's not really what I'm thinking about because that typically still only uses a single casting class, plus a bunch of melee. What I'm imagining is a full-on-casting build, assembled from bits of pieces of a variety of other casting-class.

I realized that magic in 3.5 is already incredibly OP, and a lot of my Homebrew is geared towards balance. This, however, is geared towards making the game more interesting, so lets pretend for just a minute that we live in a fantasy world where magic and mundane are less imbalanced, where spellcasting and other class-features where mostly comparable to tier 3, and where there are viable optimization strategies other than "never sacrifice spell-levels".
The following was partly inspired by the Swift Hunter feat from Complete Scoundrel, that let you stack some class features of the Ranger and Scout classes, since they were so thematically similar. Is this new feat something that you might consider taking, and/or can you think of anything interesting to do with it?



Capricious Study*
Prerequisite: The ability to cast spells

Benefit: When you take this feat, choose one class that you have levels in that can cast spells. Any time you would take levels in a different spellcasting class, instead of gaining spell-slots of that other class you advance your spellcasting for the class chosen when you took this feat.
Full-casters (Wizards, Clerics, Druid, etc) advance spellcasting at a ratio of 1:1.
Half-casters (Bards, Duskblades, etc) advance spellcasting at a ratio of 3:4.
Partial casters (Rangers, Paladins, Hexblades, etc) advance spellcasting at a ratio of 1:2.
Additionally, if the class that you choose when you took this feat uses a different type of magic than the secondary class whose spell-slots you are giving up (i.e. arcane vs. divine), then the ratios for spellcasting advancement are reduced by one step. 1:1 becomes 3:4, 3:4 becomes 1:2, and 1:2 becomes 1:3.

Examples: You start off by taking 6 levels of Sorcerer, then take 6 levels of Wizard; you cast spells like a 12th level Sorcerer.
You start with 4 levels of Wizard, then take 8 levels of Cleric; you cast spells like a 10th level Wizard.
You start with 6 levels of Druid, then take 6 levels of Ranger; you cast spells like a 9th level Druid.
You start with 6 levels of Cleric, then take 6 levels of Bard; you cast spells like a 9th level Cleric.
You start with 5 levels of Wizard, then take 4 levels of Cleric and 3 levels of Paladin; you cast spells like a 9th level Wizard.
You start with 4 levels of Bard, then take 4 levels of Duskblade and 4 levels of Wizard; you cast spells like an 11th level Bard.

Special: With regards to qualifying for Prestige Classes, if your multiclass selections would normally have allowed you to qualify except for the fact that you only cast one type of spells, then you are considered as qualifying for that PrC. For example, if a PrC such as Mystic Theurge requires you to be able to cast 2nd level Arcane spells and 2nd level Divine spells, a Wizard 3/Druid 3 with this feat would qualify for that PrC, even though they only cast Arcane spells as a 5th level Wizard.

Optional: With your GM's permission you can mix and match non-standard magic systems as well; for instance a Shadowcaster or Psion would count as a full-caster, equivalent to a Wizard, and an Artificer might count as a half-caster.

Also Optional: With your GM's permission you may add a limited number of spells from the spell-list of your secondary class to the spells you can learn and cast with your primary class' spellcasting. For example, if you start out as a Wizard and then multiclass into Cleric, your GM may permit you to add 1 domain's worth of spells to your regular Sorc/Wiz spell-list. If you multiclass into Druid, your GM may permit you to add all the Summon Nature's Ally spells to your list, and/or a few other thematically appropriate spells. If you start off as a Druid or Cleric and multiclass into Wizard, the GM may permit you to add 1 Wiz/Sorc spell, plus 1 additional spell per 4 levels of Wizard, with the restriction that you can't add more than a single spell from any particular school.


*name pending- I'm open to other suggestions



I welcome any and all responses, criticisms, and feedback. Let me know what you think!

Question of the day: What concerns you most with regards to this feat and balance? How badly can you envision this breaking the system in ways worse than magic already can?

Giegue
2017-10-15, 06:49 PM
As somebody who always liked the idea of a "mystic theurge" I love this. My only question is how do domain spells work if you multiclass into cleric and use your cleric levels to, say, advance sorcerer casting? Would you get to add the domain spells to your spells known and cast them off cha? Or would they still use wis (like arcane disciple) or just not even be granted at all, meaning you'd only gain a domain's powers, but not it's spells, if you used cleric levels to advance casting in another class? I ask because if you do get the domain spells and do get to cast them as spells of the class your advancing, than Cleric, and in paticular cloistered cleric, becomes an exceptionally good multiclass for any spontaneous, spells-known caster, as they get to add 2 (three if cloistered) domains worth of spells to their spells known, which is something I approve of fully (sorcs need all the help they can get!) Likewise, would a prepared caster, like say a wizard, who went into cleric and used it to advance their wizard casting get to add the domain spells to their spellbook and cast them like wizard spells?

All and all, getting the domain spells from cleric as well as the stuff like turn undead and spontaneous conversion could be a really nice way to make a "mystic theurge" type...so if thats your intent I 100% approve...the only thing I might add is that a arcane caster using a divine class to advance their arcane casting can count their casting as divine for prestige class prerequisites (and vice-versa), but no other purposes...as this would allow some really creative and fun builds (such as a sorcerer who multiclasses into cleric and then takes up levels in contemplative to expand his spells known even more from all those free domains, or a druid with levels in Fey adept)

Also, kudos to you for giving me a viable way to make an Archivest Necromancer work. Starting human Archivist taking this feat and academic priest, and then multiclassing into evil cleric at level 2 to get Rebuke and the Deathbound domain while advancing archivist casting sounds absolutely awesome....and with the heavy armor from cleric I can actually be an intelligence based bone knight...which is incredibly cool.

So needless to say, I approve and like this!

rferries
2017-10-15, 07:14 PM
So you'd take this as a first-level cleric, then do the rest of your levels as a favoured soul or something with a better chassis (HD, BAB, saves, skill points, class features) while retaining the better spellcasting?

Also re: the archivist idea - level 1 archivist with this feat, then the remainder as favoured soul. I like it! :D

Deepbluediver
2017-10-15, 08:38 PM
My only question is how do domain spells work if you multiclass into cleric and use your cleric levels to, say, advance sorcerer casting? Would you get to add the domain spells to your spells known and cast them off cha? Or would they still use wis (like arcane disciple) or just not even be granted at all, meaning you'd only gain a domain's powers, but not it's spells, if you used cleric levels to advance casting in another class? I ask because if you do get the domain spells and do get to cast them as spells of the class your advancing, than Cleric, and in paticular cloistered cleric, becomes an exceptionally good multiclass for any spontaneous, spells-known caster, as they get to add 2 (three if cloistered) domains worth of spells to their spells known, which is something I approve of fully (sorcs need all the help they can get!) Likewise, would a prepared caster, like say a wizard, who went into cleric and used it to advance their wizard casting get to add the domain spells to their spellbook and cast them like wizard spells?

All and all, getting the domain spells from cleric as well as the stuff like turn undead and spontaneous conversion could be a really nice way to make a "mystic theurge" type...so if thats your intent I 100% approve...the only thing I might add is that a arcane caster using a divine class to advance their arcane casting can count their casting as divine for prestige class prerequisites (and vice-versa), but no other purposes...as this would allow some really creative and fun builds (such as a sorcerer who multiclasses into cleric and then takes up levels in contemplative to expand his spells known even more from all those free domains, or a druid with levels in Fey adept)
I honestly had not considered that. My initial intent was that you'd basically give up everything casting-related in your secondary class in exchange for essentially turning it into a PrC that advanced the spellcasting for your primary class. So the short answer would be "no", I guess.

However, this is homebrew and a large portion of the intent was to get players excited about multiclassing spellcasters, so I'm tempted to say "yes" just to see what people would come up with. For now I'll add a caveat to the main post and list it as "optional", pending approval by an individual's GM.

I'm willing to be more easy-going about allowing players to qualify for PrCs because many of them are extremely restrictive and have a depressing tendency to be underpowered. As far as optimization goes, my understanding is that the majority of PrCs are traps, and they either cost to much or limit your options to the point where they are rarely better than just going straight Caster 20.


Also, kudos to you for giving me a viable way to make an Archivist Necromancer work. Starting human Archivist taking this feat and academic priest, and then multiclassing into evil cleric at level 2 to get Rebuke and the Deathbound domain while advancing archivist casting sounds absolutely awesome....and with the heavy armor from cleric I can actually be an intelligence based bone knight...which is incredibly cool.
This is the exact kind of ridiculous awesomeness I was hoping to see someone suggest, so kudos to YOU.
https://www.thesellingagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/double-finger-guns.jpg



So you'd take this as a first-level cleric, then do the rest of your levels as a favoured soul or something with a better chassis (HD, BAB, saves, skill points, class features) while retaining the better spellcasting?

Also re: the archivist idea - level 1 archivist with this feat, then the remainder as favoured soul. I like it! :D
Yes, but...what version of the Favored Soul are you looking at?
AFAIK, the Cleric and the Favored Soul both use a d8, have moderate BAB, and get 2 skill points per level. The FS gets a better Reflex save, but the class-features are kind of a mixed bag. The big one here seems to be Turn Undead, which admittedly is the fuel for a LOT of cheese, and is entirely independent from a Cleric's Cleric-levels.

A couple things to keep in mind:
First, the goal here is to allow players the flexibility to come up with interesting builds. I don't want to add a new option and then immediately load it down with so many restrictions and complications that people are unwilling or unable to use it.

Second, I can't fix things in a vacuum. If I was operating in a world where the Cleric and FS where closer to tier-3 instead of 1 and 2, respectively, then I think being able to optimize for half a notch higher wouldn't be a big deal.

Third, its homebrew, and I can homebrew further. If you are really worried about this getting out of hand I could add some sort of rule that you only gained the benefits so long as the first class you picked was higher than or equal to the secondary class. That would still let you do something like Cleric 5 + Favored Soul 3 + Bard 2 + Incarnate 2 + whatever, at the expense of killing off any kind of 1/19 build. I think I'll hold off on adding that to the official version for the moment, but I'll leave it out there for consideration.

rferries
2017-10-15, 10:36 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as critical, instead I approve! My own rule is balancing strictly around the SRD and if it's broken outside of that, so be it! You've already addressed the most egregious abuses with the arcane/divine split i.e. no wizards getting a druid chassis, so I think it's fair enough in Core :)

Deepbluediver
2017-10-15, 10:56 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as critical, instead I approve! My own rule is balancing strictly around the SRD and if it's broken outside of that, so be it! You've already addressed the most egregious abuses with the arcane/divine split i.e. no wizards getting a druid chassis, so I think it's fair enough in Core :)
Be as critical as you like! Things rarely improve without outside input, and I encourage you to draw attention to any issues you think are salient.
That being said, I DO try to develop things on my own for a while before posting them. I certainly don't catch every problem or potential flaw, but this is about the 3rd or 4th version of this, and I hope I've ironed out the worst of the wrinkles.

Giegue
2017-10-16, 08:43 AM
Now that you added the stuff I was talking about I think this is pretty special. Either way I came up with another hillariously fun idea...a way to make the minion-mancer necro wizard actually good. How? Easy. Start as a Necromancy specialist wizard with this feat, and then take the rest of your levels in Dread Necromancer. Suddenly, you get Rebuke Undead and the ability to control more minions than a cleric. this works with any necro-themed caster, as well, though it's not totally broken because a Wizard or Cleric 1/Dread Necro X who is using dread necro levels to advance their wizard or cleric casting has a fair bit of MAD in that they need their casting stat + Cha, now, but hey, the MAD is worth it for a build like this since it lets you do something a necro wizard normally can't (be good at the whole animating minions thing)....so yeah...that sounds *fun*


Oh, and mentioning necro wizard 1/dread necro X also got me thinking of another fun combination, evoker wizard 1/warmage X. Suddenly your blasting becomes that much better because of your high intelligence! In the same vein, a cloistered cleric with the trickery and charm or domination domains + beguiler seems absolutely silly....now you can be a true trickster Cleric!

Deepbluediver
2017-10-16, 01:29 PM
Now that you added the stuff I was talking about I think this is pretty special. Either way I came up with another hillariously fun idea...a way to make the minion-mancer necro wizard actually good. How? Easy. Start as a Necromancy specialist wizard with this feat, and then take the rest of your levels in Dread Necromancer. Suddenly, you get Rebuke Undead and the ability to control more minions than a cleric. this works with any necro-themed caster, as well, though it's not totally broken because a Wizard or Cleric 1/Dread Necro X who is using dread necro levels to advance their wizard or cleric casting has a fair bit of MAD in that they need their casting stat + Cha, now, but hey, the MAD is worth it for a build like this since it lets you do something a necro wizard normally can't (be good at the whole animating minions thing)....so yeah...that sounds *fun*


Oh, and mentioning necro wizard 1/dread necro X also got me thinking of another fun combination, evoker wizard 1/warmage X. Suddenly your blasting becomes that much better because of your high intelligence! In the same vein, a cloistered cleric with the trickery and charm or domination domains + beguiler seems absolutely silly....now you can be a true trickster Cleric!
All good ideas- the only thing to keep in mind is if you swap between Arcane and Divine classes you loose a few spells slots.

Speaking of which, I'm mulling over a slight adjustment to the ratios, changing the 2:3 scale to be 3:4 instead. Right now it's not bad- going for a straight Wizard 1/Cleric 19 build (or something equivalent) gives you spell-progression similar to a Bard, which I think is decent for the options it opens up. A slightly less lopsided build- 5/15 for example, would still give you access to 8th level spell-slots at 20th level, while retaining most of the cleric's chassis. Changing it to 3:4 wouldn't have a big effect, it would just make things a little easier on cross-type casters. And it would still require a build like 8/12 to get 9th level spell slots which is a significant investment in your primary class so I'm not terribly worried about the power level.

I'm leaning towards this change and as someone who likes the feat and what it does I can't imagine you'd object to a buff, I just figured I'd throw my thoughts out there and see if you wanted to chime in.

rferries
2017-10-16, 07:37 PM
3:4 "feels" better -fits with the BAB scale of full, half, 3/4ths.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-17, 10:13 AM
3:4 "feels" better -fits with the BAB scale of full, half, 3/4ths.
Ok, it's done. Now I guess technically the pattern should go 3/4, 1/2 (i.e. 2/4), 1/4, except whenever I try to play around with that, only advancing spellcasting at 1 level in 4 is kinda crippling. 1/3 isn't that much lower than 1/2, but somehow it FEELS a lot weaker, so I think I'm going to leave the partial-casters where they are for the moment.

Ranged Ranger
2017-10-18, 04:29 PM
I like! Especially with the optional rules.

Blue Jay
2017-10-18, 06:01 PM
This can be abused pretty easily. Casting classes are often front-loaded with their main features at 1st and 2nd level, so it would be easy enough to dip around and get all the minor features you would ever want. So, I think it's a bad idea if you have absurd cheesemongers at your table. On the other hand, some of those minor class features that are flavorful but not easy to get (like Healing Hands or Wild Empathy or something), can be easy to pick up, and I approve of that.

I would recommend that you pattern it after those feats that let monks and paladins multiclass without penalty: so, they would have to choose one class that they can do this multiclass-stacking with; if they want to stack more classes, they have to take the feat again for each new class. I think that will keep it from getting too silly.


Special: With regards to qualifying for Prestige Classes, if your multiclass selections would normally have allowed you to qualify except for the fact that you only cast one type of spells, then you are considered as qualifying for that PrC. For example, if a PrC requires you to be able to cast 3rd level Arcane spells and 3rd level Divine spells, a Wizard 3/Druid 3 with this feat would qualify for that PrC, even though they only cast Arcane spells.

This part could be worded a lot better. When I read it, my thought was "Wizard 3/Druid 3 can only cast 2nd-level arcane and 2nd-level divine."

I think what you meant to say was, "For prestige classes that require an ability to cast two different types of spells (e.g., arcane and divine, prepared and spontaneous, etc), you only have to meet the minimum spell level or caster level for one of the two types. You must have multiclassed into another class that meets the remaining spell-type (but not level) requirement. For example, a Wizard 3/Druid 3 with this feat casts spells at a 5th-level wizard, and would qualify for a prestige class that requires an ability to cast 3rd-level arcane and 3rd-level divine spells, because he can cast 3rd-level arcane spells, and his levels in druid cover the divine component."

Giegue
2017-10-20, 05:02 PM
Even with the reduced slots for doing an arcane/divine hybrid, Wizard 1/Dread Necromancer X advancing wizard casting still gets full casting, and is a really good necromancer due to getting Undead Mastery. The only thing you need to worry about is now your wizard needs Charisma, a traditional dump stat for the class...but as a necromancer who likely intends on also becoming undead at some point, the cha-investment is defiently worth it. Especially considering this now puts you on par with the necro cleric in terms of sheer numbers of undead controlled.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-20, 09:01 PM
Even with the reduced slots for doing an arcane/divine hybrid, Wizard 1/Dread Necromancer X advancing wizard casting still gets full casting, and is a really good necromancer due to getting Undead Mastery. The only thing you need to worry about is now your wizard needs Charisma, a traditional dump stat for the class...but as a necromancer who likely intends on also becoming undead at some point, the cha-investment is defiently worth it. Especially considering this now puts you on par with the necro cleric in terms of sheer numbers of undead controlled.
I tried to keep this out of the original post, but in my homebrew setting there's actually 3 types of casting: Arcane, Divine, and Wild. The last one is for the all the "nature themed" casters, like Druids, Rangers, Shamans, Wu-Jen, etc. Added to that, all casters are dual-stat; Int provides bonus spells, DC is based on Wisdom (for prepared casters) or Charisma (for spontaneous casters).

I tried to design the feat so that it would be workable in either type of setting, but obviously some of my intent for other homebrew creeps in. I mentioned this only so you can have an idea of what I'm thinking about when I design stuff. I've got no objections to things like dual-stat casters, and actually believe the upper range of tier-1 optimization to be a problem that should be addressed, not a goal to shoot for.



This can be abused pretty easily. Casting classes are often front-loaded with their main features at 1st and 2nd level, so it would be easy enough to dip around and get all the minor features you would ever want. So, I think it's a bad idea if you have absurd cheesemongers at your table. On the other hand, some of those minor class features that are flavorful but not easy to get (like Healing Hands or Wild Empathy or something), can be easy to pick up, and I approve of that.
Let me ask you a question: is what you can do with this spell any more broken than what you can already do with a tier-1 class?
I'm honestly curious- I'm not an optimizer by nature and while I like the stuff people come up with, it's not easy for me to calculate the most cheese-tastic ways people might abuse something.

My best attempts at optimization are usually something like this: if you take 1 level of Sorcerer, and then add this feat and take the rest of your levels as Wizard, you can have a build that nets a gain of 3 feats across 20 levels. It's un-arguably better than straight sorcerer (worse for the first 4 levels and even for the next 5), but it's still a tier-2 class when you could have just gone straight Wizard and been tier 1 from the start.
Stuff like what Giegue is mentioning, I'm barely able to consider.


I would recommend that you pattern it after those feats that let monks and paladins multiclass without penalty: so, they would have to choose one class that they can do this multiclass-stacking with; if they want to stack more classes, they have to take the feat again for each new class. I think that will keep it from getting too silly.
Eughhhh.....I'm not sure I want to do that.
Using this feat to come up with builds that involve dips into several different casting classes is kind of what I was imagining from the beginning, and I don't know if I want to slap a huge feat tax on that. I'm curious what sort of imbalanced combination you're picturing though- if you have anything in mind I'd love to read about it.
Plus, a lot of the core feats are not really worth it, providing a benefit that's too situational or requires to much perquisite expense to be worth it IMO. Ideally I'd offer players a full suite of feats they where excited about taking, instead of stuff like a +2 to attack rolls when using an axe against orcs, or something equivalent.


This part could be worded a lot better. When I read it, my thought was "Wizard 3/Druid 3 can only cast 2nd-level arcane and 2nd-level divine."

I think what you meant to say was, "For prestige classes that require an ability to cast two different types of spells (e.g., arcane and divine, prepared and spontaneous, etc), you only have to meet the minimum spell level or caster level for one of the two types. You must have multiclassed into another class that meets the remaining spell-type (but not level) requirement. For example, a Wizard 3/Druid 3 with this feat casts spells at a 5th-level wizard, and would qualify for a prestige class that requires an ability to cast 3rd-level arcane and 3rd-level divine spells, because he can cast 3rd-level arcane spells, and his levels in druid cover the divine component."
I need to apologize here- I got my homebrewed setting mixed up with the standard rules: in my setting spell-levels run 1-10 instead of 0-9, so 3rd level spells would be the equivalent of 2nd level spells in RAW.

The intent was that for a class like Mystic Theurge (I'm just using this as an example because I don't know of any other classes off the top of my head with both Arcane & Divine casting requirements) that required a certain level of both types of casting, if you would have been able to use both types of spells except for this feat, you would still qualify.
I will correct the original post, and/or add some additional text to clarify it further.