Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do You Have a Preferred Multi-Classing System for Your OSR System of Choice?

When I talk multi-classing, I'm also counting "Dual Classing" as per the AD&D rules under that general heading.

Armor restrictions, weapon restrictions, class combination restrictions, hit point calculations and the like - can all differ slightly depending on the system of choice.

I'm not all that happy with the AD&D method, as it seems too restrictive in some ways (class combinations until UA made that insane) and HP calculations (I run with "fractional HP" when my multiclass party members roll HP).

Forget dual classing in AD&D - the stats required are extremely high, especially if you are coming from or going to a sub class.

So, what's your favorite method? Do you go BTB (anybook ;) or do you have your own set of house rules?

I don't think this is going to come up in Crypts & Things, because EVERYONE is effectively multiclassed as a Rogue (even the Thieves), but ya never know...


  1. If I'm at the point where I want to multi-class, it's time to switch to Heroes and Other Worlds.

    Multi-classing does something with class and level systems that is just to weird for me to accept.

  2. I agree with the other comment that it's better just to make a new class than to mess around with multiclassing.

  3. Jack Shear did a great series of posts about multi-classing using Lamentations of the Flame Princess: http://talesofthegrotesqueanddungeonesque.blogspot.ca/search/label/multiclassing

  4. yah, I prefer not to do it at all

  5. Trick question. SAY NO TO MULTICLASSING!!!

  6. Multi-classing sucks. The correct approach is Tombs & Terrors which has many single classes that replicate the effect of multi-classes but in a sensible way.

  7. The multi-classing system in AD&D is great. The later editions completely dropped the ball on multiclassing and went with more of a dual classing only method.

    Multi-classing in AD&D actually lets you feel like you are part fighter and part magic-user. Not just a half-ass level 1 magic-user with 5 levels of fighter.

    The balance of things is that they have less HP and level somewhat slower.

    One reason I have lost all interest in 5e is their insistence on using the 3e style of multi-classing which is not multi-classing at all. As much as I dislike 3e+, 4e actually did a better job with a real multiclass method called hybrids.

  8. I prefer systems like ACKS that don't have multiclassing but instead have single classes that are blended.

  9. It is great to see so many folks are against multiclassing. I thought I was in the minority. This is pure opinion, non subjective, but the majority of players that I have run into that go for multiclassing are just looking for a mechanical advantage.

    1. Of course people play multi-classed characters for a "advantage". Why do people play Paladins, or magic-users. They want a specific class advantage.

      AD&D at least makes you commit to all classes for the life of the character. You do not just take one level of something to get all the features of a class. i.e. like 3e+.

      Picking a class is picking an "advantage". Just like picking a race, skills/etc is picking an "advantage". Do you also dislike specialization because people pick it for an advantage?

      I play the typical elf fighter/magic-user. I enjoy playing a fighting class that can throw out a few spells while wearing armor. I do not do it because it's the best class (that would be a cleric), I do it because it fits the style of play I like.

    2. "Do you also dislike specialization because people pick it for an advantage?"

      Yup. :)

      I think the issue is that we'd like all choices to be viable and roughly comparable, so it's not good having one class or race be vastly better, unless perhaps it's restricted by eg the Paladin's need for a big investment or lucky roll in Charisma. UA Specialisation is a poorly designed boost to Fighters (& Rangers!) that roughly trebles their damage output. At first level a Fighter/M-U/Cleric, as AIR UA allows, is also roughly three times as powerful as a single class character. 1e PHB-only multiclassing is arguably viable due to being much more restricted, though.

      As long as PCs are seen as a 'stable', not 'this is my one guy', with play almost entirely in the 1-10 level range, I think the pre-UA AD&D systems are actually very elegant and work well. They cease to work well when taken out of their intended use.

  10. I guess the AD&D approach is the most workable, but it can be a bit overpowered only being one level behind yet having access to the powers of two classes. In general I'm not a big fan of multiclassing and I would prefer to see single classes that are broad enough to cover several bases, eg a warrior who can do thiefly stuff*, a warrior-mage like the B/X Elf, a divine warrior like the AD&D Paladin, a trickster mage, etc.

    *For an OD&D Swords & Sorcery genre game, IMO there's a strong case for just giving Fighter PCs all the Thief abilities. I think I'll do that next time I run a Conanesque or Fafhrd/Mouser-esque B/X or similar game. The Thief class as separate from Fighter seems more a "Bilbo vs the Dwarves" Tolkienesque thing.

  11. Since I prefer to play Classic D&D (BX/BECMI/LL/BFRPG), my homebrewed classes tend to cover the "multiclass" niches. Half-Orcs and Rangers cover F/T (or Assassin), Illusionists cover MU/T, Druids cover MU/Cl, Cavaliers cover F/Cl (or Paladin), Bards cover Cl/T.

    Elves always have covered the F/MU niche, of course. In a way, Dwarves and Halfings also cover F/T, so with Rangers and Half-Orcs I've got maybe too many variations on the Fighter-Thief. Hmm, maybe time to tinker with my system again...


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