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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    FaerieGodfather's Avatar

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    Default Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    So... I've always hated the way multiclassing works in D&D 3.X and Pathfinder. I've been trying to fix it, nearly consistently, for the past fifteen years and I've gotten into a lot of stupid and pointless arguments with people who don't think it needs to be fixed.

    Luckily, I am now in possession of Tipsy Tabby Publishing's Overhauling Multiclassing rules, which use a much more elegant implementation of fixed-progression Gestalt than my own-- you may select one secondary class, you take multiclass feats (with ability prerequisites a la 5e) to upgrade your chassis, and when you're at least 5th level with at least 2 multiclassing feats, you can take the Cross-Training feat that gives you all of the class features of your secondary class at your character level -4.

    This is leagues better than the original system, and likewise leagues better than anything I ever came up with.

    But there are still four major problems that I think can be improved, and that I'd like to address.

    1. Cost versus Benefit: Three feats for all of the class features of a secondary class just feels too good. Compare five feats for all of the "benefits" of Variant Multiclassing. Being multiclassed needs to detract something from the primary class, as well. (But my previous attempt to use Level Adjustment were awful.)
    2. Low Level Characters: You don't get any of the class features of your secondary class until 5th level. Many games don't even last that long.
    3. Triple-Class Characters: Not supported. This probably isn't much of a problem, because you can approximate most classic AD&D triples with the right Archetypes and Hybrids.
    4. Prestige Classes: Not supported, and this is the reason I'm starting this thread.


    Cost Versus Benefit

    I think I've got this one licked, as long as I don't try to implement Triple-Class characters. Also, for the record, I am an idiot sandwich. Pathfinder already has a mechanism for encouraging characters to stay single-class: Favored Class Bonuses. Single-class characters get Favored Class Bonuses; the level they take a multiclass feat, they stop.

    Low-Level Characters

    Just add a multiclass feat that grants the 1st-level features of the chosen class. This is your entry-level multiclass feat, overwritten by Cross-Training later.

    Triple-Class Characters

    I've got nothing, and I'm honestly half-convinced that I shouldn't even attempt this. On the other hand, I really want to.

    Prestige Classes

    This is a real sticking point because a lot of cool concepts in 3.X and PF are gated behind the Prestige Class system. Also, a lot of the later "multige" classes did unique things beyond just +1 spellcaster level/+1 spellcaster level that... should be available to multiclass characters in some capacity, but probably aren't worth a whole class with fixed progression.

    And there's the rub: most Prestige Classes are obviously designed to replace the class features of the base class, not co-exist with them. +1 spellcaster level is only the most obvious example... but in a fixed progression game, it's meaningless. Easy enough to ignore, but suddenly a 5/10 casting PrC is the exact same as a 10/10 casting PrC.

    I'm generally thinking that your first (and only) Prestige Class should just be "free": meet the prerequisites, choose it, and advance. Prestige Classes would not count against being single-classed for the purposes of FCBs. There's a part of me that wants to support having more than one Prestige Class, but I'm pretty sure that would lead to nothing but shenanigans and ruination.

    So that's where I'm at. Any ideas?
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    This seems extremely complicated for what you're trying to do. What exactly do you dislike about multiclassing? What, if anything, do you like about multiclassing?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    Not having seen the specifics of your system (and not owning that pdf), my thought is that:
    1- Cost vs. Benefit: I suspect it's fairly easy to dial the cost up and down by expanding or shrinking the feat chain involved. Thinking about the theurges, it occurs to me that one possible structure for multiclassing could reduce your main-class feature advancement by a static amount as a cost; you could play as level-1 for one class, and level-3 for your second class, for example.
    2-Low-level characters: An entry-level feat that grants full level-1 features is slightly sketchy to me, partially because several classes have bonus feats granted at 1st level; monk is a particular offender here. The favored class bonus may compensate for this.
    3- Triple-classing: If you can pay a cost of X feats and Y level-progression penalty to get a second class, it seems to me that you should be able to pay that cost again to get a third class.
    4- Prestige classes being "free" doesn't really solve the issue of the 5/10 and 10/10 classes being equivalent under fixed progression; I suspect that you could handle it by reprocessing them into feat chains, with the features from the 5/10 prc taking a feat chain about twice as long as that of the 10/10 class.

    One note; it's not clear to me that there's a method by which someone's "primary" and "secondary" classes could be swapped; if I start as a Fighter and find that being a Cleric is more useful, it seems as though I'm permanently stuck with my "primary" class.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    I agree that multiclassing is, to put it lightly, borked. However, I would feel remiss were i not to say this: while many games did not last long enough for this to matter, in 2e, if you were a 2 class multi, you would be 14th level in both classes when the singles hit 20, almost without fail (cleric thieves ended up 13/15 iirc) I then looked at the experience tables for PF and 3.5 and sure enough, if you split experience evenly, same result, dual 14s at 20th. Now Im not saying that it would be totally balanced to just implement 2e multi into 3.5/PF, but the benefit is essentially a bit of early game power at the cost of some late scaling, which includes getting less feats less often soooo... yeah. Said my piece for the time being.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    Quote Originally Posted by GunbladeKnight View Post
    This seems extremely complicated for what you're trying to do. What exactly do you dislike about multiclassing? What, if anything, do you like about multiclassing?
    Dislikes are easier, as I have more practice articulating them:

    • It fails to accurately translate traditional D&D archetypes into viable characters.
    • It is too frequently either a massive increase or a massive decrease in character ability.
    • Too many iconic character abilities "come online" much, much too late.
    • Class dipping, for multiple reasons.


    I am not really sure I can tell you what I like about multiclassing, except to note that-- except my very first AD&D character-- every character I have ever played in D&D has been multiclassed, despite the differences in multiclassing systems involved. Even my Classic D&D characters will all multi-classed, thanks to The Orcs of Thar.


    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Not having seen the specifics of your system (and not owning that pdf), my thought is that:
    1- Cost vs. Benefit: I suspect it's fairly easy to dial the cost up and down by expanding or shrinking the feat chain involved. Thinking about the theurges, it occurs to me that one possible structure for multiclassing could reduce your main-class feature advancement by a static amount as a cost; you could play as level-1 for one class, and level-3 for your second class, for example.
    The gist of the Overhauling Multiclassing system, as written, is that you select a secondary class (for free) and then you spend feats-- one per step-- to increase the generic abilities of the primary class up to the better values of the secondary class. (If the primary is better, you just leave it alone.) You're not required to take any of these feats.

    Once you've got two feats, and you're level 5, you can take Cross-Training, which gives you the full class features-- but not any of the chassis stuff-- of your secondary class at your character level -4.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    3- Triple-classing: If you can pay a cost of X feats and Y level-progression penalty to get a second class, it seems to me that you should be able to pay that cost again to get a third class.
    It seems to me that you run into the problem of getting essentially the same benefits for diminishing costs, especially where similar classes are concerned. A Fighter|Soulknife could add Monk for practically the cost of a single feat.

    I'm also wondering, the Elven F/M/T or the entirety of Dark Sun aside, if I shouldn't limit triple-classes to races with the Human subtype.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    4- Prestige classes being "free" doesn't really solve the issue of the 5/10 and 10/10 classes being equivalent under fixed progression; I suspect that you could handle it by reprocessing them into feat chains, with the features from the 5/10 prc taking a feat chain about twice as long as that of the 10/10 class.
    It's an idea, and we already have a roadmap for Prestige VMC courtesy of Rogue Genius Games.

    I'm worried now that we're leaning entirely too heavily on feats for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    One note; it's not clear to me that there's a method by which someone's "primary" and "secondary" classes could be swapped; if I start as a Fighter and find that being a Cleric is more useful, it seems as though I'm permanently stuck with my "primary" class.
    There's nothing in Overhauling Multiclassing, but... it doesn't seem much more complicated than retraining your class selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShiningStarling View Post
    I agree that multiclassing is, to put it lightly, borked. However, I would feel remiss were i not to say this: while many games did not last long enough for this to matter, in 2e, if you were a 2 class multi, you would be 14th level in both classes when the singles hit 20, almost without fail (cleric thieves ended up 13/15 iirc) I then looked at the experience tables for PF and 3.5 and sure enough, if you split experience evenly, same result, dual 14s at 20th. Now Im not saying that it would be totally balanced to just implement 2e multi into 3.5/PF, but the benefit is essentially a bit of early game power at the cost of some late scaling, which includes getting less feats less often soooo... yeah. Said my piece for the time being.
    I've never done that comparison before and it is... telling.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    This seems very interesting. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what you come up with... I love gestalt and tristalt and finding a way to do that without raising the power level by the weird amount it does would be cool.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    As a small followup, while i dont necessarily agree with all of Paizo's design decisions, archetypes really do seem to cut down on or downright eliminate multiclassing. I played 3.5 a long time, and now pathfinder nearly as long, and the difference is quite substantial.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Problems With Gestalt-Based Multiclassing

    Well, I think the FCB route is unfortunately out-- while it's easy to grant thoses bonuses, in the case of arcane and spontaneous casters, the big important FCB everyone wants... is really hard to take away if the character muti-classes later.

    The other ones... are not big enough to discourage multiclassing. The +1 Skill Point doesn't work because I intend to use Grouped Skills.

    Right now... I am already thinking of consolidating weapons by damage die and giving every character the equivalent of Warpriest's Sacred weapon-- by BAB-- with single-class full BAB characters (and maybe some 3/4 classes?) using a better chart. Thanks to Genius Guide to the Talented Monk and the Advanced Class Guide, I have three different charts to work with.

    I am also thinking, instead of Spells Known-- which are hard to rescind, and would not apply to prepared casters or warmage casters-- spellcasters might get an extra slot per spell level.


    ---

    Prestige Classes, I'm still thinking everyone gets one (and only one) for free. Meet the prequisites, declare you're taking it-- BAM-- full Gestalt, like you've got all the feats. Mostly rectifies the issue that most Prestige Classes have the exact same chassis as their most logical routes to entry.

    Does not fix +1 spellcaster level. +1 spellcaster level needs to be replaced in a lot of Prestige Classes... but not all of them, because some of them stand quite nicely on their own alongside their intended entries. Generally think a number of PrCs could stand to be consolidated.

    Multige. Late 3.5 and PF multige classes often had additional class features that ought to be available to multiclass characters... but they're not really worth taking up a whole Prestige Class, especially when their purpose as a Prestige Class is simply to duplicate the Base Classes you're already progressing on.

    On the other hand... maybe multiclassing replaces your ability to take a Prestige Class.
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