A character may add new classes as he or she progresses in level, thus becoming a multiclass character. The class abilities from a character's different classes combine to determine a multiclass character's overall abilities. Multiclassing improves a character's versatility at the expense of focus.
Class and Level Benefits
As a general rule, the abilities of a multiclass character are the sum of the abilities of each of the character's classes.
Level: "Character level" is a character's total number of levels. It is used to determine when feats and ability score boosts are gained, as noted on Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent benefits.
"Class level" is a character's level in a particular class. For a character whose levels are all in the same class, character level and class level are the same.
Hit Points: A character gains hit points from each class as his or her class level increases, adding the new hit points to the previous total. For example, Lidda the halfling began as a rogue and attained 4th level, then added levels of wizard at her next two advancements. As a 4th-level rogue/2nd-level wizard, her hit points are 6 + 1d6 + 1d6 + 1d6 + 1d4 + 1d4.
Base Attack Bonus: Add the base attack bonuses acquired for each class to get the character's base attack bonus. A resulting of +6 or higher provides the character with multiple attacks. Find the character's base attack bonus on Table 3-1: Base and Base Attack Bonuses to see how many additional attacks the character gets and at what bonuses. For instance, a 6th-level rogue/4th-level wizard would have a base attack bonus of +6 (+4 for the rogue class and +2 for the wizard class). A base attack bonus of +6 allows a second attack with a bonus of +1 (given as +6/+1 on Table 3-1), even though neither +4 from the rogue levels nor the +2 from the wizard levels normally allows an extra attack.
Saving Throws: Add the base save bonuses for each class together. A 7th-level rogue/4th-level wizard has a +3 base save us on Fortitude saving throws (+2 as a 7th-level rogue and +1 4th-level wizard), a +6 on Reflex saving throws (+5 and +1), a +6 on Will saving throws (+2 and +4).
Skills: If a skill is a class skill for any of a multiclass character's classes, then character level determines a skill's maximum rank. (The maximum rank for a class skill is 3 + character level.)
If a skill is not a class skill for any of a multiclass characters es, the maximum rank for that skill is one-half the maximum for a class skill.
Foe example, a 7th-level rogue/4th-level wizard (an 11th-level character) can have as many as 14 ranks in any skill that is a class skill for rogues or wizards. That same character can have as many as 7 ranks in any skill that is not a class skill for rogues or wizards.
Class Features: A multiclass character gets all the class features of all his or her classes but must also suffer the consequences of the special restrictions of all his or her classes. (Exception: A character who acquires the barbarian class does not become illiterate.) Some class features don't work well with the skills or class features of other classes. For example, although rogues are proficient with light armor, a rogue/wizard still has an arcane spell failure chance if wearing armor.
In the special case of turning undead, both clerics and experienced paladins have the same ability. If the character's paladin level is 4th or higher, her effective turning level is her cleric level plus her paladin level minus 3. Thus, a 5th-level paladin/4th-level cleric turns undead as a 6th-level cleric.
In the special case of uncanny dodge, both experienced barbarians and experienced rogues have the same ability. When a barbarian/rogue would gain uncanny dodge a second time (for her second class), she instead gains improved uncanny dodge, if she does not already have it. Her barbarian and rogue levels stack to determine the rogue level an attacker needs to flank her. For example, a 2nd-level barbarian/4th-level rogue could only be flanked by a rogue of at least 10th level.
In the special case of obtaining a familiar, both wizards and sorcerers have the same ability. A sorcerer/wizard stacks his sorcerer and wizard levels to determine the familiar's natural armor, Intelligence score, and special abilities.
Feats: A multiclass character gains a feat every three character levels, regardless of individual class level (see Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits).
Ability Increases: A multiclass character increases one ability score by 1 point every four character levels, regardless of individual class level (see Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits).
Spells: The character gains spells from all of his or her spellcasting classes. Thus, an experienced ranger/druid may have access to the spell protection from elements both as a ranger and as a druid. Since the spell's effect is based on the class level of the caster, the player must keep track of whether the character is preparing and casting protection from elements as a ranger or as a druid.
Adding a Second Class
When a character with one class gains a level, he or she may choose to increase the level of his or her current class or pick up a new class at 1st level. (A character can't gain 1st level in the same class more than once, even if this would allow him or her to select different class features, such as a different set of domains for a cleric.) The DM may restrict the choices available based on the way he or she handles classes, skills, experience, and training. For instance, the character may need to find a tutor to teach him or her the ways of the new class. Additionally, the DM may require the player to declare what class the character is "working on" before he or she makes the jump to the next level, so the character has time to practice new skills.
The character gains the 1st-level base attack bonus, base save bonuses, class skills, weapon proficiencies, armor and shield proficiencies, spells, other class features of the new class, hit points of the appropriate Hit Die type, and the new class's number of skill points gained at each additional level (not that number x 4, as is the case for a 1st-level character).
Picking up a new class is not exactly the same as starting a character in that class. Some of the benefits a 1st-level character gains (such as four times the usual number of skill points) represent the advantage of training while the character was young and fresh, with lots of time to practice. When picking up a new class, a character does not receive the following starting benefits given to characters who begin their careers in that class.
- Maximum hit points from the first Hit Die.
- Quadruple the per-level skill points.
- Starting equipment.
- Starting gold
Advancing a Level
A multiclass character who attains a new level either increases one of his or her current class levels by one or picks up a new class at 1st level.
When a multiclass character advances a level in a current class, he or she gets all the standard benefits that a character normally receives for attaining that level in that class: more hit points, possible bonuses on attack rolls, Armor Class, and saving | throws (depending on the class and the new level), possible new class features (as defined by the class), possible new spells, and new skill points.
Skill points must be spent according to the class that the multi-class character just advanced in (see Table 4-1: Skill Points per Level, page 62). Skills purchased from Table 4-2: Skills are purchased at the cost appropriate for that class.
Rules for characters beyond 20th level (including multiclass characters beyond 20th level) are covered in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
XP For Multiclass Characters
Developing and maintaining skills and abilities in more than one class is a demanding process. Depending on a character's class levels and race, he or she might or might not take an XP penalty.
Even Levels: If your multiclass character's classes are nearly the same level (all within one class level of each other), then he or she can balance the needs of the multiple classes without penalty. For instance, a 4th-level wizard/3rd-level rogue takes no penalty, nor does a 2nd-level fighter/2nd-level wizard/3rd-level rogue.
Uneven Levels: If any two of your multiclass character's classes are two or more levels apart, the strain of developing and maintaining different skills at different levels takes its toll. Your multiclass character takes a -20% penalty to XP for each class that is not within one level of his or her highest-level class. These penalties apply from the moment the character adds a class or raises a class's level too high. For instance, a 4th-level wizard/3rd-level rogue gets no penalty, but if that character raises his wizard level to 5th, then he takes the -20% penalty from that point on until his levels were nearly even again.
Races and Multiclass XP: A favored class (see the individual race entries in Races) does not count against the character for purposes of the -20% penalty to XP. In such cases, calculate the XP penalty as if the character did not have that class. For instance, Bergwin is an 11th-level gnome character (a 9th-level rogue/2nd-level bard). He takes no penalty to his XP because he has only one non-favored class. (Bard is favored for gnomes.) Suppose he then attains 12th level and adds 1st level as a fighter to his classes, becoming a 9th-level rogue/2nd-level bard/1st-level fighter. He then takes a -20% penalty on future XP he earns because his fighter level is so much lower than his rogue level. Were he awarded 1,200 XP for an adventure, he would receive only 80% of that amount, or 960 XP. If he thereafter rose to 13th level and picked up a fourth class (by adding 1st-level cleric, for example), he would take a -40% XP penal from then on.
As a second example, consider a dwarf 7th-level fighter/2nd-level cleric. This character takes no penalty because his fighter class is favored for dwarves and thus not counted when determining whether his classes are even. Nor does he take any penalty for adding 1st-level rogue to the mix, since his cleric and rogue classes are only one level apart. In this case, cleric counts as the character's highest class.
A human's or half-elf's highest-level class is always considered his or her favored class.
How Multiclassing Works
Lidda, a 4th-level halfling rogue, decides to expand her repertoire by learning some wizardry. She locates a mentor who teaches her the ways of a wizard, and she spends a lot of time looking over the shoulder of Mialee, her party's wizard, while the latter prepares her spells each morning. When Lidda amasses 10,000 XP, she becomes a 5th-level character. Instead of becoming a 5th-level rogue, however, she becomes a 4th-level rogue/1st-level wizard, Now, instead of gaining the benefits of attaining a new level as a rogue, she gains the benefits of a 1st-level wizard. She gains a wizard's Hit Die (d4), a 1st-level wizard's +2 bonus on Will saves, and 4 skill points (2 for one wizard level +2 for the Intelligence bonus derived from her Intelligence score of 14) that she can spend as a wizard. These benefits are added to the scores she already had as a rogue. Her base attack bonus, Reflex save bonus, and Fortitude save bonus do not increase because these numbers are +0 for a 1st-level wizard. She gains a 1st-level wizard's beginning spellbook and spells per day. Her rogue skills and sneak attack capability, however, do not improve. She could spend some of her 4 skill points to improve her rogue skills, but, since they would be treated as cross-class skills for a wizard, these skill points would each buy only one-half rank. (The exceptions are any Craft or Profession skills she may have, since Craft and Profession are class skills for both the rogue and the wizard.)
On reaching 15,000 XP, she becomes a 6th-level character. She decides she'd like to continue along the wizard path, so she increases her wizard level instead of her rogue level. Again she gains the wizard's benefits for attaining a new level rather than the rogue's. As a 2nd-level wizard, she gains another d4 Hit Die, her base attack bonus and base Will save bonus each go up by +1, she gains 4 more skill points, and she can now prepare another 0-level spell and another 1st-level spell each day (as noted on Table 3-18: The Wizard). Additionally, as a 6th-level character overall, she gets her third feat (see Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits).
At this point, Lidda is a 6th-level character: a 4th-level rogue/2nd-level wizard. She casts spells as a 2nd-level wizard does, and she sneak attacks as a 4th-level rogue does. Her combat skill is a little better than a 4th-level rogue's would be, because she has learned something about fighting during her time as a wizard. (Her base attack bonus went up by +1 when she became a 2nd-level wizard.) Her base Reflex save bonus is +4 (+4 from her rogue class and +0 from her wizard class), better than a 6th-level wizard's but not as good as a 6th-level rogue's. Her base Will save bonus is +4 (+1 from her rogue class and +3 from he wizard class), better than a 6th-level rogue's but not as good as a 6th-level wizard's.
At each new level, Lidda must decide whether to increase her rogue level or her wizard level. Of course, if she really wants to have diverse abilities, she could even acquire a third class - maybe fighter.