Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Multiclassing and the final playtest packet

I've been catching up on a bunch of the articles that I've neglected while we were on our D&D hiatus, and this one caught my eye.

At the bottom, Mike Mearls talks about a few D&D Next features that are coming in the next packet, including multiclassing. This is a very important topic to me, and a few of the players in our group, as we're very heavily into customization, about being able to make the character the way we see him or her, without being strapped down by limitations in the ruleset -- this was my biggest dislike of 4e.

While the general gist of the multiclassing sounds good (that it exists, that's it's as simple as just taking a level in a new class), the specific example of multiple spell-casting classes confused me a bit.
  • Multiclassing with spellcasting classes is somewhat similar. Your overall levels in classes that cast spells determines how many spells you can cast. Your levels in those individual classes determine which spells you can prepare. For instance, a 3rd-level mage/3rd-level cleric casts spells per day as a 6th-level character, but can choose to prepare spells available to a 3rd-level wizard or to a 3rd-level cleric. Luckily, our scaling spells ensure that you can still get the most bang for your spells.
First of all: "casts spells per day as a 6th-level character." A 6th-level what? a Mage6 can cast 4 1st-level spells, 3 2nd-level spells, and 3 3rd-level spells a day. A Cleric6 casts 3/2/2. Which do I pick? There's no way that they mean that you add them together, because then you're the equivalent of a Mage6/Cleric6. Way too powerful. So do I take the lesser of the two (the penalty for multiclassing, a trade-off for the flexibility?)

Or do we take each of their 3rd-level per-day numbers? Mage3 has 4/2 and Cleric3 has 3/1; do I then add them together? 7/3 might not be too bad, but why should I be able to cast that many healing spells just because I've gotten some experience as a Mage? And I think taking the better of these two would be a bit too underpowered -- just 4/2 each day, at 6th level, with all this magical training?

I would expect it would be as in 3.5, where I'd just get 4/2 for Mage spells and 3/1 for Cleric spells. Combining my spellcaster levels seems a bit odd, considering how the magic is two different types, arcane and divine. 3.5's prestige classes took this into account, allowing summing of levels when the classes used similar types of magic.

The second part of that paragraph that confuses: "choose to prepare spells available to a 3rd-level wizard[sic] or to a 3rd-level cleric." I'm guessing this is just a case of a mistaken "or" instead of "and"; otherwise, the wording seems to imply that I get to prepare as one class or the other after each long rest.

Again, I'd expect that the number of prepared spells would be figured out as the individual classes: 3+1 Cleric spells and 3+1 Mage spells. I'd even accept the total spellcasting levels being used: 6+1, so 7 spells total instead of 8. However, this would imply 7 spells of either type, instead of 4 of each -- though I suppose, depending on how the per-day numbers end up, that just gives a lot of flexibility at the expense of power.

Griff and I have been trying to guess how long until the next/final packet... just a few months, like the gap between the previous two; or perhaps not until the new year, letting them really hash out any final changes for  the last public playtest, to give us the most to opine about?

On the one hand, I want the shorter time, just to see these multiclass rules (because I suspect I'm going to have a lot to say about them), but a longer gap will mean, perhaps, a packet that's got a better chance of being close to the end result.

And it's not clear what "last public playtest packet" means for us -- will there be a really long gap without *any* hint on progress and change? Should we use that last packet and continue playing with it, both to provide input for as long as they ask for it, as well as to immerse ourselves with the closest approximation to the next version of D&D? Is there a chance some people might be allowed to continue to playtest (and if so, where do I sign up?) Or after that point, will things become progressively public, much as 4e did before launch, which provided us the ammunition for our previous blog?

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