Dungeons & Dragons: All Pros & Cons Of Multiclassing

Dungeons & Dragons characters aren't limited to a single class, but dipping into different professions comes with its own pros and cons. The general difference between solo class characters and multiclass characters is power versus versatility. A character who focuses on one class will be highly effective in one skill set, while multiclass characters have a wider variety of techniques, at the cost of high-level abilities.

In D&D, it's generally best for parties to have members that use specific roles. The average group needs a tank (Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin) to face enemies on the front line, a healer (Bard, Cleric, Druid) to patch up wounds, a caster (Sorcerer, Wizard, Warlock) to blast enemies with spells, and a Rogue, because they are the best option for a stealthy skill-based character. If these roles are hit, then additional party members have more freedom for what they can be, allowing players to be more experimental with their character builds.

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A player who goes the multiclass route in Dungeons & Dragons with their character has the chance to create something truly unique. The problem, however, is that the fifth edition of D&D isn't as friendly to the concept of multiclassing as some of the older editions, meaning that there is more risk of the character being weaker or less useful than their party members. There are pros and cons to taking multiple classes, and players should be aware of these before branching out.

One of the issues with the current fifth edition of D&D is that many of the choices regarding character development are made early. Most of the character choices take place between levels 1 and 3, due to how subclasses are laid out. Multiclassing offers lots of new ways to customize characters outside of their existing level progression, and some of them have amazing synergy with each other.

The Fighter/Rogue is a fantastic combination that has worked well throughout the long history of D&D and it's no different in fifth edition, as the Sneak Attack and free Disengage works well with the bulk and strength of a tank. The Paladin/Warlock is an unlikely mixture, but it creates a powerful character, thanks to the Warlock's ability to regain spell slots from short rests, allowing them to spam their Paladin abilities in battle. There are lots of combinations that can help players create unique characters and become powerful in different ways.

Primary spellcasters in Dungeons & Dragons tend to suffer when multiclassing. It's usually better for Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards to stick with one class, rather than mixing things up. For instance, a Cleric/Wizard might seem like a powerful combination, but it means trading powerful high-level spells for a wider variety of lower-level spells.

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Multiclass spellcasters were more effective in older editions of D&D, as they retained separate spell slots for their classes. In fifth edition, however, they have a combined value for their spell slots, so they don't even have the benefit of being able to cast more spells per day. There are benefits to taking one or two levels in another class (detailed below), but there aren't as many worthwhile combinations for even mixtures of spellcasting classes.

In the old editions of D&D, arcane spellcasters couldn't cast spells while wearing armor. There were specific options that could get around this, like the overpowered Bladesinger class from Advanced Dungeons & Dragonsor spending Feats to reduce the chance of messing up a spell in third edition, but the rule generally stood for all arcane classes. Armor no longer affects spellcasting in fifth edition, but the arcane classes don't have armor proficiency, save for Warlocks, who can wear light armor.

It's beneficial for these classes to take a single level in Fighter or Paladin so that they gain the ability to wear heavy armor and use shields. There are a number of other benefits as well, along with gaining a big boost to their maximum hit point score. Taking a single level in Fighter gives them free healing with Second Wind, and the ability to boost their armor's AC bonus even higher with the Defense Fighting Style. Taking a single level in Paladin grants the ability to detect supernatural beings, and it gives them a healing ability that can be spread among different characters, thanks to Lay on Hands. The Armored Wizard build is amazing for this very reason, as the character becomes a lot harder to kill.

In the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, a character gains two ability score points every four levels. If the variant Feat rules are used, then the player can receive a Feat instead of the ability scores. The bonus provided by these points is something that affects everything the character does, from a Fighter boosting their damage, to a Rogue improving their most useful skills. Feats are also incredibly useful and can help players customize their characters without the need for multiclassing - if they choose to only stick with one class in a campaign instead.

The most important factor to consider is that it takes longer for multiclass characters to receive the benefits of these improvements, as they're tied to class level, not character level. A player who evenly spaces out their levels while multiclassing will take longer to receive new ability score points or Feats. Essentially, this means players who multiclass will lag even farther behind the solo class members of the group over time. However, it's not all about raw power in Dungeons & Dragons. It's sometimes better for characters to have more utility and variety to their moves, rather than just a few strong abilities, depending on the kind of campaign they're playing and what kind of party they're in.

Next: Dungeons & Dragons Classes D&D 6e Should Add



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