Multiclassing in Pathfinder’s Beginner Box

I’ve been asked to give some thought about multiclassing in Pathfinder’s Beginner Box.  I’m not terribly conversant with Pathfinder’s multiclassing rules, so here’s the direct quote from the Pathfinder core rulebook (pgs 30-31):

“Instead of gaining the abilities granted by the next level in your character’s current class, he can instead gain the 1stlevel abilities of a new class, adding all of those abilities to his existing ones. This is known as “multiclassing.”

“For example, let’s say a 5th-level fighter decides to dabble in the arcane arts, and adds one level of wizard when he advances to 6th level. Such a character would have the powers and abilities of both a 5th-level fighter and a 1st-level wizard, but would still be considered a 6thlevel character. (His class levels would be 5th and 1st, but his total character level is 6th.) He keeps all of his bonus feats gained from 5 levels of fighter, but can now also cast 1st-level spells and picks an arcane school. He adds all of the hit points, base attack bonuses, and saving throw bonuses from a 1st-level wizard on top of those gained from being a 5th-level fighter.

“Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character’s level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class.  The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.”

That’s it!  Just three short paragraphs.  Multiclassing, it seems to me, is one of the things that 3E/Pathfinder actually makes simpler than old school D&D.

My first inclination is to prohibit multiclassing in a BB campaign, which might be a bit too complicated for it (or maybe not).  And given the BB’s strict level limit, there may not be enought incentive to multiclass.  However, if you do allow it, I’d say the maximum overall character level is still 5 but split between two classes (so, for example, a 3rd level Fighter and a 2nd level Thief for a total of 5 character levels).  Also, I’d personally only allow characters to multiclass once.  And remember, for class abilities, you’re limited to your class level (so multiclassing wizards and clerics would never be able to get 3rd-level spells in the BB).



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14 Responses to “Multiclassing in Pathfinder’s Beginner Box”

  1. David Jenks Says:

    As the person who requested the topic, I think your logic is clear and reasoning straightforward.

    I agree that limiting the multiclass to 2 classes would be wise.

    i would have thought more discussion might be generated by this, but it’s not necessary as it’s a cut and dry situation! 😀

    • edowar Says:

      Indeed, very cut and dry. I’ve never multi-classed in Pathfinder before, so I was a bit surprised at just how straight forward it is. Much simpler than MCing in 1st or 2nd edition D&D.

  2. thebabblingbane Says:

    I have been considering this myself since I found PFBB and wanted to marry it with the E6 premise. In the E6 threads that I have been reading, the CL for multi-classed casters was a major point of discussion. People didn’t like how it supposedly “gimped” multi-classed casters.

    I have considered a couple of their options; allowing full caster level (CL) for multi-classes of two spell casters, but this seems a bit off.

    Do you consider this an actual flaw, or a point of “having to take the good with the bad?”

    Great Blog BTW!
    The Bane

    • edowar Says:

      Thank you!

      I don’t see the current system as a flaw, because you’re gaining the abilities of another class to offset the lost spell casting ability. The trade off is depth vs. versatility…whether that trade off is worth it or not is up to each player.

      If a player feels that having a full powered caster is that important to them then they shouldn’t multiclass, as far as I’m concerned.

      • thebabblingbane Says:

        Seems we are in agreement on the matter. With regard to PFBB and E6, as I understand it, PFC characters seem to be a tad (one, maybe two) levels stronger than your run of the mill 3.5 character. Would you concur, and do you think PFBB (stopping at fifth level) is comparable to the E6 goal?


      • edowar Says:

        I don’t have much experience with 3.5, but it seems to me that each iteration of D&D makes PCs a little more powerful than the last, so it wouldn’t surprise me if PF characters are a bit more powerful than 3.5 characters.

        Personally, I don’t see a problem with running an ‘E5’ style campaign using the PFBB, given slightly more powerful characters (though someone with more experience may see problems that I don’t). Remember, with E5/E6 campaigns characters can still add new feats after hitting max level. So if there’s an issue with hit points or saving throws being too low, you can always add a few new feats to address the issue, without the need to write up the 6th level for every PFBB class.

    • Brendan Says:

      Regarding casting level, I think it’s also worth noting that, in general, the first level of any class gives the most raw abilities (for example, you get orisons or cantrips or whatever for free). So, you never get to be as powerful in the classes main thing, but you do get all the startup stuff. So I think it balances out.

      • edowar Says:

        That’s a good point, and it goes doubly in the Beginner Box since casters can cast cantrips and orisons as often as they want. So a multiclass Wizard/Cleric would be a fairly powerful caster in the BB, even if they can’t cast 3rd level spells.

      • thebabblingbane Says:

        I hadn’t thought of that. Good point. Probably should get some play testing under my belt before I start thinking of house rules. You guys rock!


  3. Says:

    Here’s my problem: A 20th level Rogue decides to multi-class into 1st level wizard, which requires over 3 million experience points. Meanwhile, a bum in the gutter with an INT of 10 can sober up long enough to say “I want to be a first level wizard” and get a spell book with cantrips and 3 first-level spells; an arcane bond; the ability to scribe scrolls; and still have only ZERO experience points. Why does the bum get a better deal than the 20th level Rogue? I understand that what the 20th level is buying with his 3M+ points is a 21st character level, but it can’t be worth it to spend that level on Wizard 1, so the current scheme discourages multi-classing. Wouldn’t it be better to use a parallel system, where a PC could multiclass without penalty?

    • edowar Says:

      I think I get what you’re saying. Reaching 20th level in any class is not the best time to decide to multi-class. If that rogue had multi-classed at 2nd or 3rd character level he or she would have gotten a much better deal, relatively speaking. Ultimately, however, that rogue is still in the same boat whether they multi-classed earlier or later.

      A parallel system could be used but you’d have to design it very carefully. Otherwise you risk a system that’s either too complex and burdensome to bother with or, more likely, a system that makes it too easy to multiclass and dramatically increases character power. Without that huge XP ‘penalty’ everyone would end up multi-classing; indeed, you’d be gimping your character if you didn’t.

  4. Alex Rohr Says:

    The way I ended up running multiclassing in my campaign was a sort of parallel system. i created a sort of XP budget per se. only when spending the xp points outside of the normal class it had a modifier. Example:
    main class rogue lvl 3 has 1000 + 2000 exp invested into rogue levels
    multiclasses to a fighter lvl 4
    all the normal exp investments are multiplied (lets say 1.5x for ease of use) so the fighter levels would cost 1500 + 3000 + 4500
    instead of the normal 1000 + 2000 + 3000 Additionally, I had a sort of “unlock cost” for the multiclass as a way to not have a free benefit. Again, I added a higher multiplier for someone deciding to prestige class with or without a mullticlass (ex. a 2x multi or a 3x multi)

    so lets say we had a XP budget of 28,000 to make our character
    lvl 5 rogue 1000 + 2000 +3000 +4000 = 10,000 XP spent
    unlock multiclass 1000 = 11,000 XP total spent
    Lvl 3 fighter 1500 + 3000 = 4500 = 15,500 XP spent
    unlock Prestige Class 2000 = 17,500 xp spent
    lvl 3 arcane trickster 2000 + 4000 = 23,500 spent

    there is 4,500 XP left in the budget. it could be used to make a lvl 4 fighter (it would use all of it) or saved to upgrade a different class level.
    – allows for neat class combos
    – more power to the players

    – XP equivalent of a 7th level char can have 12 total levels

    – consider as a DM the APL (Average Party Level) the total levels not the amount of XP. take the time to actually average the party
    – if some combos are too potent consider talking to them about nerfing the XP in the future (make it higher 3x not 2x etc.)

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I was thinking of doing this as a test system… Also I would be adding it slightly different that you must progress your favoured class to level 5 before taking a second class and +5 levels per extra class thereafter

    • edowar Says:

      If I’m understanding you correctly, you’d have to work up to level 5 in your favored class (in Beginner Box), then you could pick a multiclass, start at level 1 and work up to level 5 in that class as well? If so, that sounds like an interesting approach to multiclassing in the BB.

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