First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ Character Creation
...another useful RPG site from M. J. Young Net
Your contribution via Patreon or PayPal Me keeps this site and its author alive.
AD&D Multi-Classed Characters
Some character class combinations are possible. These will enable a character to perform two functions simultaneously--such as being a capable fighter able also to use spells. These characters have the potential to quickly become quite powerful; some of the most legendary and powerful characters at some tables are dual- or triple-classed. But there are several caveats to bear in mind when considering a multi-classed option. With multi-classed characters, certain aspects of the character are combined, while others are divided. This may be confusing, as each class combination has its own nuances; however, these rules are generally true in most cases.
The multi-classed character does not advance as quickly as his fellows. Experience points are divided equally among all classes held, even if the multiclassed character can no longer advance in any class. The exception to this is the Ninja split class. With the Ninja, the character must perform Ninja-related activities to earn Ninja experience. Although the treatment of this is rather befuddling for the DM, MyWorld rules have a simplified approach, explained in Experience for Ninja Split-class in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, part of the Special Rules section of M. J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons Materials. (Ninja combinations advance very slowly, due to the slow advancement for the ninja and the division of points.) Additionally, the character gets fractional hit dice: whenever a die is rolled for hit points in any class, it is divided by the total number of classes. (Under book rules, fractions are rounded, with 1/2 rounded up; this strengthens the dual-classed character slightly, since he will gain an extra half hit point every other level (on average); but the triple classed character does not gain from this, as 1/3 of his rolls are rounded up and 1/3 rounded down. MyWorld tracks fractional hit points, permitting that a character with 1/3 of a hit point left is still alive and functional.) This means that defensively the multiclassed character is always weaker than his stronger class, although stronger than his weaker class--the fighter/magic-user with no other bonuses has a range of 1 to 7 hit points per level-average of 4.0--as compared to the 1 to 10 range/5.5 average of the single-classed fighter. This slightly depressed hit point gain combined with the slower advancement due to experience point division means that in low-level parties these characters tend to be vulnerable. (They gain fewer hit points less often.) The multi-classed character will never be as good at any one thing as a single-classed character with comparable experience.
Multiclassed characters advance in each class independently, and therefore train in each class independently. They will receive separate grades for each class, and be charged time and money separately for each class upon advancement. This further slows their advancement, although many parties adopt a policy of taking a break from adventures when several characters are ready to train and waiting until all are ready for the next adventure. In regard to grades (a nuance of the rules overlooked by many DM's, but one which enables the DM to keep players aware of the class and alignment restrictions of their characters), the multi-classed character must perform functions of each class on each adventure in order to keep the grades high (and the commensurate costs and time of training low). This is in addition to expenses for upkeep, such as armor and weapon maintenance for fighter classes and spell components for mage classes.
All multi-classed combinations are limited to specific races; in most cases, non-humans are limited in advancement in most classes. This is primarily for game balance. A human may live a hundred years, and begin his study of magic in his 30's; but an elf may begin to study magic at 150, and live another 1850 years. Without this limitation, all of the most powerful characters in every class would be non-humans. Thus non-humans are limited in the level to which they may advance, and further prevented from learning a second class after abandoning the first (but for the half-elf bard), but are given the opportunity to begin with two or three classes to create power through diversified abilities. Because of this diversity, multi-classed characters are generally the most powerful members of middle-level parties; because of the advancement caps, they eventually become the weakest members of very high level parties, although their diversity causes them to remain valuable. It should also be mentioned that the division of experience points between classes continues even after the advancement caps are reached in any one of them. Thus the dwarf fighter/thief, who is limited as a fighter but not as a thief, will continue to lose half of his earned experience to the capped fighter class, advancing more slowly as a thief than a single-classed thief would.
If a race is limited in advancement in any stated class (by race, not by the maximum level possible for the class), the maximum level for the multi-classed character is two levels lower.
In regard to weapons and armor, the character may use any weapons and any armor permitted to any class held. However, thief functions may not be performed while in armor inappropriate to the thief class, and magic-using classes may be limited in relation to performing magic while in armor, although some races are not so limited. DM's generally expect that multi-classed characters will use each proficiency slot in a manner consistent with the restrictions of the class which credits it, but the degree to which this is enforced varies greatly, and as long as the player does not obviously or intentionally violate the rule it will probably not matter.
Under MyWorld rules, weapon and non-weapon proficiencies are accumulated, that is, the character gets the maximum number for all classes added together. The excuse for this is that multi-classed characters are typically older, advance more slowly, and will in most cases reach a maximum level in most classes, thus no longer gaining additional slots. Some DM's average these numbers (generally without any reason but that they were looking for a middle ground), and some restrict the character to the number of proficiencies available to one class (usually the one with the most slots, although sometimes the one with the least), on the theory that such characters have much more to learn, and so less time to spend on weapons. Also, if there are special advantages to the proficiencies of any class, they apply to the multiclassed character--that is, multi-classed fighters may specialize, and those who may use a weapon of choice in any selected class may do so as a multiclassed character.
Multi-classed characters receive the full amount of starting money due to both classes under MyWorld rules, based on the example of the Ninja, who is listed with starting money even though a Ninja must also hold another class simultaneously. Multiclassed characters usually have more expenses initially than single classed characters, although this is admittedly a generalization. Some DM's give the character the largest amount due to any one class included, and some average the amounts or the dice, but these options impose severe penalties on characters in need of starting equipment.
If a multiclassed character is involved in MyWorld leadership (explained under M. J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons Materials, Special Rules, Leadership System for Dungeons & Dragons), the leadership activity will be counted in the grade of the class considered the more appropriate for the adventure and for leadership. Cavalier classes will be considered first, then fighter, cleric, and magic user classes. Thief classes will rarely receive the benefit of leadership for multiclassed characters, unless the adventure clearly revolved around thieving skills and activities.
Remember that to qualify for a multiclassed combination, the character must meet the minimum requirements for all classes, and must be of a race which can be this class combination. We have done our best to identify all race/class combinations which are recognized by the first edition rules, along with those connected to our other allowed and experimental classes. Krynn rules are vague concerning multi-classed characters, neither specifically permitting nor excluding them, and referees vary in this regard. MyWorld rules generally permit a Krynn character to be multi-classed if he qualifies for all included classes and the combination is one which would be permitted to the nearest occidental racial counterpart. Thus Silvanesti Fighter/Magic-users are accepted, but not Fighter/Wizards of High Sorcery, since there are no multi-classed possibilities for Wizards of High Sorcery.
Here are the identified class combinations. The links in the names are to the class descriptions; those in the races...well, let's not be too obvious, here.
The primary appeal of this class is that it gives the assassin the ability to identify and compound his own poisons early in his career. It is possible for assassins who have put a few levels behind them to attend a "poisoner's college" to learn to compound certain poisons, but this is additional time and money, and is less complete than the alchemist's understanding, and also does not give the advantages of magical potion creation. The character is restricted to armor permitted to the thief class if performing thief functions, but not otherwise. Only Half-orcs and Drow may be Alchemist/Assassins. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available. If faster advancement is desired, an assassin trained (at higher levels) at poisoners college should be considered; for an assassin with stronger combat abilities, consider the ninja combinations or the fighter assassin.
This combination appeals to those who wish to explore the potion possibilities as an adjunct to their supportive magics, such as focusing on healing potions and other protectives and curatives. However, in view of the fact that only Half-orcs may be Alchemist/Clerics, it is generally the case that the provision of poisons as support for fighters and assassins is the principle appeal of this combination to the majority of those who practice it. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available.
Some who like illusion magic in a multiclass combination will gravitate to this, adding more magical abilities to the mix. Only Gnomes but not Krynn Tinker Gnomes may be Alchemist/Illusionists. It is generally accepted that gnome illusionist combinations are not restricted in armor by the illusionist class, so this character may use any armor permitted the alchemist. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available.
A very potent magical class which reflects the sage background of the Alchemist, these characters may become quite powerful. However, the normal advantages one gains from multi-classed magic-users are limited, since the combat abilities of the alchemist are much the same as those of the mage. Only Drow may be Alchemist/Magic-users. This character is not restricted to the armor or weapons of the magic-user, being permitted the use of that which is available to the alchemist also. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available.
The same reasons that attract characters to the Alchemist/Assassin--production of poison--bring them to the Alchemist/Ninja. This class is also valued because it creates a bit of a smokescreen for the ninja, who seems less an adventurer and more a sage trying to gather materials, while at the same time it permits access to the martial arts to strengthen and protect the Alchemist character. However, hit points are weak. Only Oriental Humans may be Alchemist/Ninja. The restrictions on armor for thief functions apply when the character is acting as a ninja, but not otherwise. (Note that a ninja may use restrictive armor for purposes of disguise, and may fight in it, but may not perform thief functions while so clad.) Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available. It may be that the DM will permit a ninja to attend poisoner's college, so the player may wish to consider other ninja combination classes.
Those who enjoy playing good thieves but want to expand into some magical abilities may find this an attractive option. Only Hobbits may be Alchemist/Thieves. The restrictions on armor remain in effect for the performance of thief functions, and therefore at all times. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available. The Bard and the Magic-User/Thief are both alternatives to consider here. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
This is very like the Alchemist/Thief; however, the acrobat aspect captures some of the feeling of the ninja, without the alignment and family structure complications. Only Hobbits may be Alchemist/Thief-acrobats. The restrictions on armor for thief functions apply. Since the Alchemist is an experimental MyWorld class, this combination may not be available. Again, the Bard-Acrobat and the Magic-User/Thief-Acrobat are similar options. The non-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
Although an uncommon and unusual combination, this gives the assassin access and cover to many places to which many others would not be admitted, along with curative and damaging spell abilities to supplement his other skills. Half-orcs may be Cleric/Assassins. Note that the assassin's alignment strictures control. The Sohei/Ninja and Wu Jen/Ninja offer similar advantages.
Although any character may perform an assassination on the assassination tables, those who are assassin-classed have better chances than others. This combination creates the most survivable of assassins, since the weapons, combat tables, hit points, and armor of the fighter class are all commonly available. Half-orcs may be Assassin/Fighters. Note that the assassin's alignment strictures control. The Bushi/Ninja is quite similar, with less restrictive alignment.
Each of the ninja combinations has strengths and weaknesses. This one has the greatest variations in alignment and the strongest combat skills. Although it does not give the character any easy way to explain away his thief skills, making others particularly suspicious of the possibility that he might be a ninja, it does give him the scrounge rule and cutting cash strings ability to explain mysterious acquisitions. Only Oriental Humans may be Bushi/Ninja. The Assassin/Fighter is a similar occidental class combination, which escapes the complications of the ninja.
A strong combination of fighting skills and support magic, these characters are valued in many parties for their ability to hold their own in battle while being right at hand to save the wounded. Half-elves, Elves, and Duergar may be Cleric/Fighters. There is some implication under the Arcana rules that other Dwarfs may have this combination, but it is not clearly stated. The cleric weapon restrictions do not apply. This combination is in many ways similar to the Ranger, the Paladin, and the Sohei.
Although triple class combinations are extremely slow to advance, this swiss-army-knife approach to character creation results in very potent characters at middle levels. Half-elves and Elves may be Cleric/Fighter/Magic-users. Neither the armor restrictions of the magic-user nor the weapon restrictions of the cleric apply, although hit points tend to be slightly low, averaging 4.3 to start. A strong combination, it adds full fighter offensive capabilities to the magic plus magic combination of the other two classes. The Ranger/Cleric offers similar if lesser strengths with fewer weaknesses.
Although this combination of magic plus magic is not popular, it has definite advantages for those interested in spell casting. First, the starting character will have immediate use of at least two spells, one of each class--a clear advantage over the first level magic-user, who has to choose a single spell for the day, and has nothing left once cast. Second, it combines both the potent offensive spells of the mage with the curative and support magics of the cleric. Third, the magic-user is given a significantly expanded selection of weapons and the use of any armor, as well as increased hit points, improving his survivability and his combat potential at lower levels. Half-elves and Elves may be Cleric/Magic-users. The player might wish to consider all clerical and magic-using classes individually, as each has strengths.
One of the most potent and underrated class combinations in the game, this adds all of the ranger capabilities to the cleric/fighter combination. A character able to achieve higher levels will be able to cast many clerical spells plus quite a few magic-user and druid spells, and has access to full armor, all weapons, weapon specialization, and strong hit points (6.75 average starting hit points, plus 2.5 per level in each class, plus fighter constitution bonuses). Survivability is good at low levels; only the racial class advancement restrictions hold this combination back--very high ability scores are necessary to achieve the higher levels in this combination. Half-elves may be Cleric/Rangers. The Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User is very similar, with more spells and weapons at lower levels, but slower advancement and fewer hit points.
An unusual combination, these characters usually present themselves as one class with talents of the other--that is, a cleric who can also pilfer and open locks, or a thief with healing powers. The combination is a good choice for support personnel, especially for NPC's added to a weak party; to a party leader, this combination is particularly valuable in tactical situations in which the party will be divided--since each group should have a thief and a cleric, and those functions are rarely needed at the same instant, having one person fill both jobs is very useful. (Compare this to the fighter/magic-user--in combat, he will be wanted both to protect the spell casters and to be one of those casters himself, and so is considerably less useful tactically than two single-classed characters would be.) Additionally, this combines two rapid-advance classes, so the character may be able to keep pace with the slower advancing magic-users, paladins, and other classes. Half-orcs may be Cleric/Thieves. Note that Half-orcs are restricted in level as thieves, the only race for which this is the case. Thief armor restrictions apply for the performance of thief functions. The Bard, Sohei/Ninja, Wu Jen/Ninja, and Magic-User/Thief should be considered as alternatives. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
All that is said about Cleric/Thieves applies here. However, the acrobat variant brings very useful skills to a party; and since the decision to "go acrobat" isn't made until level 6 but the strong scores are rolled at level one, there may be an intrinsic advantage to selecting this combination in the creation process. (That is, under MyWorld rules, if you determine to create a thief-acrobat character, you will be permitted to roll until your scores meet the rather higher minimums for that class; if you decide later to stay with the thief class, your losses lie in less obvious areas, such as charisma.) Half-orcs may be Cleric/Thief-Acrobats. Note that Half-orcs are restricted in level as thieves, the only race for which this is the case. Thief armor restrictions apply for the performance of thief functions. The same alternates for the Cleric/Thief should be considered for the Cleric/Thief-Acrobat. The non-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
This is the fighter/magic-user class for those who either prefer illusionists or like to play short funny-looking people. The armor restrictions of the illusionist do not apply, and all of the strengths of the fighter are available, except that hit points are held back some by the illusionist class. Any Gnomes except Tinker Gnomes may be Fighter/Illusionists. Note that many weapons have height restrictions, and would be prohibited to gnomes generally. The Fighter/Magic-User and Fighter/Psionicist should be considered as alternatives, as well as those fighter classes which incorporate spell abilities, such as Paladin, Ranger, and Sohei. The player might also consider the Wu Jen, whose weapon of choice and martial arts access make him a stronger fighter than most magic-using classes.
One of the most popular combinations in the game, this creates the type of elf most players expect: one which combines the weapons and armor of the fighter with the powerful wizardry of the magic-user. The fact that hit points are reduced is a small matter in this context--elves are expected to be slightly less hardy than humans. Any Elves except Wild Elves, and Half-elves may be Fighter/Magic-users. The Fighter/Illusionist is an alternative to this combination, as well as those alternatives suggested there.
This triple classed combination, like the Cleric/Fighter/Magic-user, is a swiss-army-knife approach to the game. Although advancement is extremely slow and hit points are not very strong, by middle level the character can do nearly anything anyone else can do. It is restricted to the armor of the thief for the performance of thief functions, but not to magic user armor restrictions. Still, the combination of potent fighting and spell capabilities is very strong, and the addition of thief skills will appeal to many players. Any Elves except Wild Elves, and Half-elves may be Fighter/Magic-user/Thieves. The Wu Jen/Ninja is an interesting alternative, as the Wu Jen's weapon of choice and access to martial arts combined with the ninja abilities create a stronger combat ability than most magic-using classes. The Cleric/Thief should also be considered for the combination of strong combat and spell abilities with thief skills--weaker in both combat and magic, but quick to advance. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
As the Fighter/Magic-User/Thief, this adds the interesting advantages of the acrobat split-class. The slow advancement and armor restrictions, as well as the potent fighting and spell capabilities, still apply. Any Elves except Wild Elves, and Half-elves may be Fighter/Magic-user/Thief-acrobats. The non-Acrobat variant should also be considered, as well as the classes suggested as alternatives there.
This combination may be considered from several angles. It adds a pseudo-magical dimension to the otherwise mundane Hobbit and Dwarf fighters; alternatively, it provides stronger combat abilities to the somewhat vulnerable psionicist class. The armor restrictions and penalties of the psionicist (most of which concern the use of helmets and metal armor) apply, but the weapons and combat abilities of the fighter are fully available, and hit points are improved somewhat over the psionicist--most notably, the potent weapon specialization rules become available. Hobbits and Dwarfs may be Fighter/Psionicists. The Psionicist is a second-edition class, and may not be available in every first edition campaign. Good alternates to consider are the Fighter/Magic-User, Fighter/Illusionist, Cleric/Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Sohei, and Wu Jen, all of which combine fighting and magic powers in various combinations.
This combination is especially popular for Dwarfs and Hobbits, creating a character who can hold his own in combat, but also has additional skills in "acquisitions" or "treasure finding". Dwarfs, Elves, Gnomes except Tinker Gnomes, Half-elves, Hobbits, and Half-orcs may be Fighter/Thieves. Alternatives to consider include the Monk, the Bushi (who has some thieving skills), the Bard, and the Bushi/Ninja, Sohei/Ninja, and Yakuza/Ninja. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
This combination is very like the non-acrobat variant, but that it adds some interesting abilities at middle levels. The Bushi/Ninja is the closest alternative, although the Sohei/Ninja has some interesting variations, and the Monk should be compared. Dwarfs, Elves, Gnomes except Tinker Gnomes, Half-elves, Hobbits, and Half-orcs may be Fighter/Thief-acrobats.
Very like the Magic-User/Thief for those who prefer illusion or gnomes, this combination is not restricted by the armor of the illusionist class, but is restricted by the thief class. Gnomes except Tinker Gnomes may be Illusionist/Thieves. The Wu Jen/Ninja is another good alternative, and the Sohei/Ninja should be considered. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
Like the Illusionist/Thief in most respects, this adds more ninja-like acrobatic abilities at middle levels. Gnomes except Tinker Gnomes may be Illusionist/Thief-acrobats. The non-Acrobat variant should also be considered, and those classes suggested there.
This combination, like the Cleric/Thief, offers good support possibilities for most parties. It is weaker in combat and has less support magic, but brings to bear the more powerful attacks of the magic-user. Hit points are terrible, nearly as bad as straight magic-user characters, and the armor, although better than the mage, is limited by thief restrictions. All Elves except Wild Elves, and Half-elves may be Magic-user/Thieves. The Wu Jen/Ninja is a viable alternative, and the Bard should be considered. The Thief-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
This adds ninja-like acrobatic skills to the Magic-User/Thief. The Bard-Acrobat and Wu Jen/Ninja are similar. All Elves except Wild Elves, and Half-elves may be Magic-user/Thief-acrobats. The non-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
For those who would like their hobbit or dwarf thief to have some magical supplement, this is the best option. It combines the magic-like psionic powers with the thief skills. Since the hit points and armor restrictions are similar, this usually has little effect on the combat abilities, but can significantly supplement either class (but for the slower advancement rate). Hobbits and Dwarfs may be Psionicist/Thieves. Magic-User/Thief, Illusionist/Thief, Wu Jen/Ninja, Alchemist/Ninja, Alchemist/Thief, Alchemist/Assassin, Cleric/Thief, and Cleric/Assassin are all good alternatives. The Thief-Acrobat variants should also be considered.
This adds the acrobatic skills to the Psionicist/Thief-Acrobat combination. Hobbits and Dwarfs may be Psionicist/Thief-acrobats. The alternatives suggested with the non-Acrobat variant should also be considered.
Each of the ninja combinations has advantages and disadvantages. The Sohei has good combat abilities and spell use at middle levels; it also has a certain respectability related to the temple. However, the character will not have much excuse to cover his ninja abilities--caught with ninja weapons or equipment, he could only plead that he'd never seen such a thing, and had no idea what it was; use of thief skills would be indefensible. Only Oriental Humans may be Sohei/Ninja. Alternative classes and combinations include Bard-Acrobat, Cleric/Thief-Acrobat, Wu Jen/Ninja, Magic-User/Thief-Acrobat, Fighter/Thief, Assassin/Fighter, Bushi/Ninja, and Psionicist/Thief-Acrobat. Non-acrobat variants of these should also be considered.
This combination of magic and thief abilities is very potent, although advancement is particularly slow. The combat abilities are stronger than the Magic-User/Thief; although the armor class restrictions of the Wu Jen are stricter, the availability of martial arts amply compensates for this. Characters of this combination can often explain away thief skills with either or both of two excuses--first, that they have done something by magic which looks like a ninja skill; and second, that they learned something else when they were younger (note that as a magic-using class, Wu Jen are generally older; to say that one was once a Yakuza or Monk years before is a very reasonable explanation). On top of this, those who oppose Ninja generally regard Wu Jen as crazy and dangerous, but not particularly enemies, so their conduct will be expected to include much which is inexplicable, and suspicion will adhere more slowly. Only Oriental Humans may be Wu Jen/Ninja. Other classes to consider include the Psionicist/Thief, Cleric/Thief-Acrobat, Assassin/Cleric, Illusionist/Thief, Alchemist/Assassin, Alchemist/Thief-Acrobat, Alchemist/Ninja, and Fighter/Magic-User/Thief-Acrobat.
This unusual combination puts together two thief classes. As an explanation for the use of ninja skills, this goes a long way--after all, what non-Yakuza would know which skills were not common to Yakuza? On the other hand, there is little respect for this class either, and the character will never be trusted. The skills of the Yakuza add little to those of the ninja, but do make for the safest ninja cover. Only Oriental Humans may be Yakuza/Ninja. All other thief classes, sub-classes, and combinations might be considered, especially the Thief-Acrobat, the Bushi/Ninja, the Monk, and the Assassin.
Return to Step 2: Character Class
The site which inspired this site....
The best new role playing game....
The Multiverser Information Center
The complexity of creating a D&D character always reminds me of how much simpler it is to play
Multiverser®, the game which incorporates all other games, all other worlds, everything imaginable, with nothing else to buy.
A consideration of time travel....
Temporal Anomalies in Popular Movies
There are enough time travel films out there now that most of the things which could go wrong in time have been shown on the silver screen. This page applies a new conception of how time works (discussed in the
Multiverser® game system to help referees sort out game scenarios in which player characters travel in time) to unraveling the most popular of such movies. An
Event Horizon Hot Spot and Sci Fi Weekly Site of the Week which has won the author national recognition as an authority on time travel in fiction.
Other writings by the author....
Index to the Pages of M. J. Young
An eclectic collection of materials which includes RPG stories, commentary on law and Bible, song lyrics, and indices to material all over the web.
For your added enlightenment....
M. J. Young Net