Kayless’ Guide to Multi-Classing

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Kayless
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Kayless’ Guide to Multi-Classing

Postby Kayless » Fri May 24, 2002 5:53 am

Okay folks, for those of you who are unfamiliar with 3E rules (or just looking for some cool ideas) this should help you in customizing characters that are both effective as well as true to your indivisual character-concept. So here it goes.

Rule # 1: The classes should always complement each other. A single level of Ranger is excellent for a Rogue since it allows them get free Ambidexterity, Two-Weapon Fighting, Tracking, and a favorite enemy. Since TWF is only really effective in 3E when it’s combined with Sneak Attack, I highly advise giving your Rouge a pair of short swords, since you don’t need to double up on weapon feats (i.e. you only need to take Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, etc. once instead of twice like a longsword/dagger or other combination would require). The Barbarian is also a great class to only take a single level in since it gives Fast Movement and Rage. The Fighter is another great class to take a couple of levels in since it grants bonus feats (and access to Weapon Specialization at fourth level). A no-no is combining magic using classes. A single-classed level 8 Wizard will beat a Wizard 4/ Cleric 4 multi class any day.

Rule #2: Beware experience penalties. When a character switches classes he takes a 20% exp. hit if the classes are more than one level apart, unless it’s his favored class (fighter for dwarves, barbarian for half-orcs, and so on). So logically speaking you’ll want to design characters whose multi-classing will reflect their favored class. Humans are most flexible since their favorite class is whatever their highest class is. This allows them much more versatility then the other classes.

Rule #3: Pace yourself. Think about how you’re going to survive from encounter to encounter, not how badass your character will be once he/she reaches that magic level when all that multi-classing pays off. Certain multi-classing options take a while to be effective (Fighter/Wizard types come to mind) so it’s important to have thought your level progression through. There are some powerful combos, but it can be profoundly frustrating getting your character to the point where all the planning comes to fruition. So be prepared and have at least a few characters in your party who are good at lower levels to pick up the slack.

Tips: Here are a few effective combos. Take three levels of Rogue before multi-classing to a Fighter (Note, if you have a multi-class combo that includes the Rogue always be sure to take the Rogue class first, since he has the most skill points at the beginning). The three Rogue levels will give you 2D6 Sneak Attack, Evasion and Uncanny Dodge and you’ll only be down one BAB point from a single classed Fighter. You’ll be missing a couple of feats, but at higher levels the difference is marginal, so overall you’ll be better in the long run. A Druid can take a single level of Barbarian and gain Rage which, when combined with Wild Shape, is truly scary (A raging bear kicks ass!). Image The Barbarian's Uncanny Dodge stacks with the Rogue's so these classes mesh well too (especially since the Barbarian's Fast Movement skill only works in medium or lighter armor, and Rogues tend to go with lighter armors).

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff to add in later. Feel free to share your cool multi-classing tips with everyone.
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Postby Demis » Fri May 24, 2002 3:10 pm

In addition to Rule #2 Half-elf's favourite class is also whatever their higher class is.
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Postby Kayless » Sat May 25, 2002 1:58 am

Oops, thanks Demis. I totally spaced the Half-Elf (and probably a bunch of other stuff too). Image Image
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Postby Onyx » Mon May 27, 2002 1:13 am

Another multi-class for those that love spellcasting.
Cleric-sorcerer, since they both need high charisma.
Clerics for turn undead, Sorcerers for spells.
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Postby Mr.Waesel » Mon May 27, 2002 2:16 am

You ain't seen nothing yet until you've seen a barb/bard (preferably half-orc ("You no like my play? I SMASH YOU! :D )

But seriously: rogue/sorceror is the way to go. Since you don't become visible when casting sells while invisible in 3e, you can throw jiucy spells from a distance, and you can also snek attack when necessary.
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Postby Kayless » Tue May 28, 2002 1:28 pm

Originally posted by Onyx
Another multi-class for those that love spellcasting.
Cleric-sorcerer, since they both need high charisma.
Clerics for turn undead, Sorcerers for spells.

I’m usually a bit leery of multi-classing that combines two magic using classes, because the spells don’t stack (a clr4/sor4 can only cast 2nd level spells, whereas an 8th level cleric or sorcerer can cast 4 level). I think it’s better to take a straight class cleric or sorcerer rather than multi-classing the two. Clerics need high Wis to do their spells while sorcerers use Cha (though clerics will benefit from a high Cha, paladin's are really more Cha dependent). Getting the two stats at a reasonably high level level leaves precious few points to devote to stats like Con (for HP) and Int (for skills). Just because two classes rely on similar attributes doesn't mean they mesh well (your mileage may vary though). Image

If you really want a character that can turn, cast spells, and relies on high Cha, then a pal/sor is what I'd recommend (I believe paladins of Mystra can multi-class to spell casting classes).
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Nature’s first green is gold,
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Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
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Postby Nippy » Tue May 28, 2002 2:52 pm

Originally posted by Kayless

I’m usually a bit leery of multi-classing that combines two magic using classes, because the spells don’t stack (a clr4/sor4 can only cast 2nd level spells, whereas an 8th level cleric or sorcerer can cast 4 level). I think it’s better to take a straight class cleric or sorcerer rather than multi-classing the two. Clerics need high [b]Wis
to do their spells while sorcerers use Cha (though clerics will benefit from a high Cha, paladin's are really more Cha dependent). Getting two stats at a reasonably high level levels precious few points to devote to stats like Con (for HP) and Int (for skills). Just because two classes rely on similar attributes doesn't mean they mesh well (your mileage may vary though). Image

If you really want a character that can turn, cast spells, and relies on high Cha, then a pal/sor is what I'd recommend (I believe paladins of Mystra can multi-class to spell casting classes). Image [/b]


Indeed so, Paladins of Mystra (also called Knights of the Mystic Fire) are supposed to be guardians of the weave and go with clerics of the faith to discover ancient hoards of magic. I believe they can take levels in Wizard as well.
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Postby Onyx » Wed May 29, 2002 1:39 am

well, the idea was that if your are cleric, and have a good charisma too, then why not also take some level in sorcerer, maybe 2,3 even 4, not more, 'cause there are some low level spells a cleric can find usefull, like armor or shield type spells. Also identify, burning hands and so on. A cleric at low levels does not have many offensive spells. So imagine later on when you cleric is level 7 or 8, and you wish you had shield, or mage armor or whatever. Just 2 or 3 levels in sorcery could help. That's all.
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Postby baileyatbrats » Wed May 29, 2002 10:08 am

Right.
I also wouldn't worry too much about slow progression in spell levels in the computer rpg.
On PnP it can be frustrating to have a cleric/mage who takes endless hours of game play to get new spells, while single class characters are increasing their skills, feats and spells rapidly.

I can't think of a Black Isle game where the multi class characters didn't reach maximum level for the game before it ended.
That should be the same for IWD Jr. (Barring your taking a new class at every level that is)

Just remember: the computer DM gives out 50,000 xp to every character for things like finding a child's lost dog. PnP DMs, on the other hand, might consider giving you the xp for killing the dog if it put up a good fight.

So, multi class away. Think of how useful Arie was in BGII with fire of vengence (Cleric spell) and horrid wilting (mage) in her arsenal.

Multi class away!
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Postby Kayless » Wed May 29, 2002 11:13 am

Originally posted by Onyx
A cleric at low levels does not have many offensive spells. So imagine later on when you cleric is level 7 or 8, and you wish you had shield, or mage armor or whatever. Just 2 or 3 levels in sorcery could help. That's all.

Yeah, a few levels generally doesn’t hurt in the long run. But clerics are the most powerful class in 3E, and do quite well on their own. A fighter level in the beginning might be beneficial since clerics tend to be more melee oriented prior to receiving their better offensive spells.

Originally posted by baileyatbrats
I also wouldn't worry too much about slow progression in spell levels in the computer rpg.

I can't think of a Black Isle game where the multi class characters didn't reach maximum level for the game before it ended.
That should be the same for IWD Jr. (Barring your taking a new class at every level that is)

Except that Black Isles has never done a 3E game before. The mechanics are different from the AD&D rules. Designers on BIS board have said that multi-classing takes a while to be effective in IWDII, so I’m going to take their word for it and plan carefully. Image
Nature’s first green is gold,
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Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Postby baileyatbrats » Wed May 29, 2002 11:21 am

Okay then.

If my plan doesn't work, I'll just play it again.
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Postby Kayless » Wed May 29, 2002 11:25 am

That’s the spirit. Image
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Postby Nippy » Wed May 29, 2002 3:38 pm

I'm gonna guess that some people are going to basically burn this game onto the hard disk permanatley! :D
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Postby Mr.Waesel » Thu May 30, 2002 1:29 am

Isn't that with ever Black Isle game?
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Postby Onyx » Thu May 30, 2002 2:10 am

Originally posted by Nippy
I'm gonna guess that some people are going to basically burn this game onto the hard disk permanatley! :D


Yep, with all the other games, BG, BGII, TOB, IWD, HOW, TOTL ... :D
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Postby Mr.Waesel » Fri May 31, 2002 2:34 am

I need more harddisks to burn them all on!
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Postby Xyx » Fri May 31, 2002 2:54 am

Combining spellcaster classes sucks... If you build a level 2/3 Sorcerer/Wizard, for example, you'll have loads of Magic Missiles, while a level 5 Wizard will have Fireball.

Polaris once mentioned a rather interesting multi... One level of Sorcerer, the rest Monk. What you get is a Monk that can cast a number of Shield or Mage Armor spells per day, and still shoots 5 missiles per casting when he gets 8 Monk levels under his belt.
[url="http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/BG2/SpellsReference/Main.htm"]Baldur's Gate 2 Spells Reference[/url]: Strategy, tips, tricks, bugs, cheese and corrections to the manual.

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Postby Kayless » Fri May 31, 2002 11:18 am

Originally posted by Xyx
Combining spellcaster classes sucks...

My feelings as well. Image
Originally posted by Xyx
One level of Sorcerer, the rest Monk. What you get is a Monk that can cast a number of Shield or Mage Armor spells per day, and still shoots 5 missiles per casting when he gets 8 Monk levels under his belt.

Not a bad combo. Taking only a few levels in a spell casting class and the rest in a combative one is a good mesh, as long as you focus on defensive spells (The Lords of Darkness source book even suggests as much for Shadovar NPCs). Cat's Grace, Bull's Strength, Mage Armor, and Shield are all good low level spells that have long duration. Because they last a while, it lets you take off your armor, cast your buffing spells (with out worrying about your armor screwing up your casting), then put your armor back on to benefit from both. Image
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Postby baileyatbrats » Fri May 31, 2002 12:30 pm

But, what about the role-play?

Granted: In a hack and slash game like IWD you want some firepower, but there's more the to game than that. The fun part is winning the game while overcoming your characters' shortcomings.

The character you find useless and frustrating eventually becomes a good character. In the mean time you can use him as cannon fodder when you get mad. Also the other characters will get to practice their skills like "heal" and spells like "raise dead" with a cleric/sorcerer around. When that character can smite demons, turn undead, ice fire salamanders and fire ice salamanders later, it will be worth it.

You can probably waltz through the game with 4 Half-Orc Paladins, a drow mage and a rogue of any race. But will that be fun? Probably.

Any way. Multi class away. I say - again. (If you die, then follow some better advise.)
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Postby Kayless » Fri May 31, 2002 1:00 pm

Originally posted by baileyatbrats
But, what about the role-play?

There’s no reason why you can’t do both (role-play and optimize your characters). As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm planning on using a dwarven paladin in my IWDII party. Now dwarves and paladins aren't exactly a frequent combo, but I constructed one that not only met my role-playing image but also was combat practical. I chose a gold dwarf instead of the basic shield dwarf (since shield dwarves get a Cha penalty, which is a no-no for paladins) and since I didn't envision this character as spell-user I decided multi-class him to a fighter after 3 paladin levels. This way he gets detect evil, divine grace, lay on hands, divine health, aura of courage, smite evil, remove disease, and turn undead without having spells (which start at 4th level). This way he's an excellent fighter, but retains all the paladin abilities (except spells of course). Who says you can't have the best of both worlds? Image
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.