Rogue Fighter

How to Multiclass in D&D 5e: Basic Guide

“Against the Odds” by Arcanedist, CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License

For new players, choosing a single class for a character is a great introduction to the game. However, once you’ve found your favorite class, repeated playing can get stale. Not only does multiclassing provide variety, but adding a few levels in another class can give your character unique utility, alluring character development, and incredible damage output.

Should I Multiclass?

Reasons to Not Multiclass: Remember that a character can only reach a maximum total of 20 levels. When you multiclass, you’re ultimately missing out on a level (or a few levels) of a class. Essentially, you may miss out on a great level 20 ability, or earlier abilities (including Ability Score Improvements/feats).

For instance, at level 20:

  • Fighters get 4 total attacks in one turn.
  • Druids can Wild Shape unlimitedly and ignore verbal and semantic components of spells.
  • Barbarians increase their Strength and Constitution maximum scores to 24.

Are the level 17-20 abilities you might miss out on worth it? If you’re a spellcaster, are you missing out on important higher-level spells?

Another thing to consider is the reason why you’re multiclassing. If you hope to give your character additional versatility, you may be nerfing your overall utility. A jack of all trades really is a master of none—you’re better off focusing on getting really good a few things rather than all things. Remember that D&D is a team game. Let other players shine in their abilities while you shine in yours.

Reasons to Multiclass: We recommend multiclassing for these three reasons: to get armor proficiencies, to gain low-level class skills, or to fit a specific character archetype.

For example:

  • Rogues get quick bonus-action utility plus skill expertise and more skills at low levels.
  • Fighters get armor and weapon proficiencies, fighting style, plus early Action Surge (an additional action) and Second Wind (healing).
  • Clerics get domain abilities right away, heavy armor proficiencies, Channel Divinity, and a lot of spells to choose from that don’t require high wisdom.

So while there are a few downsides to multiclassing, choosing the right multiclass and number of levels to take is imperative. Check with your DM about what level you’re going to reach in your campaign—this may have a huge impact on your decision to multiclass.

Easy Guide to Multiclassing


Multiclassing has one prerequisite: Your character must have compatible stats with the class you wish to multiclass into and the class you already have. This means that you must meet the prerequisite stats for your current and new classes.

For example, as a Rogue multiclassing into a Cleric, you must have Dexterity 13 (for Rogue) and Wisdom 13 (for Cleric).

Here’s a table of these stats:

Class Ability Score You Need (Minimum)
Artificer Intelligence 13
Barbarian Strength 13
Bard Charisma 13
Cleric Wisdom 13
Druid Wisdom 13
Fighter Strength 13 or Dexterity 13
Monk Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
Paladin Strength 13 and Charisma 13
Ranger Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
Rogue Dexterity 13
Sorcerer Charisma 13
Warlock Charisma 13
Wizard Intelligence 13

Once you have decided on which class you’ll multiclass into, you’ll have a few rules that apply to your multiclassing character:

Basic Multiclassing Rules

Your Character Level is Based on the Sum of Your Class Levels: Your character can never exceed 20 levels total. So if you take 3 levels Rogue and 4 levels Fighter, you are a level 7 character.

  • Experience points needed to level up is based on your total Character Level.
  • Proficiency bonus is also based on your total Character Level.

Hit Points and Hit Dice Are Based on Class Levels: Calculate hit points based on whichever class you level up at that moment.

  • The class you choose for Character Level 1 will get the Level 1 hit points.
    • Example: Fighters get 10 + con hit points at Character Level 1 (this differs from Class Level! Remember that Character Level is based on the total number of levels you are, regardless of class).
    • When you multiclass, you will not take level 1 hit points again. You will simply move on to the “higher level” hit points, described next.
  • The class you choose for Character Level 2 or above will get the Level 2 or Higher hit points.
    • Example: At levels 2 and above, Fighters get 1D10 (or 6) + con
    • Example: At levels 2 and above, Rogues get 1D8 (or 5) + con
    • A level 3 Fighter who multiclasses into 1 level of Rogue will have 10 + con hit points for level 1, plus 6 + con for level 2, plus 6 + con for level 3, plus 5 + con for level 4.
  • Hit dice are based on Class Levels
    • So if you take 3 levels in Fighter and 2 levels in Rogue, you will have 3D10 (Fighter) + 2D8 (Rogue) hit dice total.

When Multiclassing, Start Taking Class Features from Level 1 of the New Class: Your new abilities start with the new class’s level 1 abilities, moving up for each level you take in that class.

  • Example: A character multiclassing into Rogue will gain the the features Expertise, Sneak Attack, and Thieves’ Cant (first level in Rogue).

Special Rules for Channel Divinity, Extra Attack, and Unarmored Defense: If you multiclass into a class that has one of these features while your current class already has this feature, you will not necessarily be able to stack your abilities. See these specific rules:

  • Channel Divinity: Multiclassing and gaining a Channel Divinity feature will give you the Channel Divinity effects granted by that class, but you do not get an additional use of it.
  • Extra Attack: Multiclassing into a class that gives you Extra Attack does not give you another extra attack (they do not stack). You only gain the effects of a single Extra Attack ability.
    • Additionally, multiclassing from a Fighter into a Warlock and getting the eldritch invocation Thirsting Blade does not give you additional attacks if you already have Extra Attack.
  • Unarmored Defense: Multiclassing into a class that gives you Unarmored Defense does not give you an additional abilities. Use the first instance of Unarmored Defense that your character developed.

Spellcasting: There are two options for spellcasting: having only one spellcasting class and having more than one spellcasting class.

  • When multiclassing, if your new class is your only instance of spellcasting, use the spellcasting rules from this class.
  • If your current class and your new class both have spellcasting abilities, use the following rules:
    1. The spells you learn are dependent on the levels of the spellcasting classes you take.
      • Example: If you take 3 levels in Wizard and 2 levels in Druid, you will know 3 Wizard cantrips, 6 1st level Wizard spells, and 4 additional spells according to the 3rd level Wizard spellcasting rules. You will also know 2 Druid cantrips and 2 + wisdom modifier Druid spells according to the 2nd level Druid spellcasting rules.
    2. Determine the number of spell slots you have with this simple formula:
      • Sum together the number of levels you have taken in Wizard, Bard, Druid, Cleric, and Sorcerer.
      • Then sum together the number of levels you have taken in Paladin and Ranger and divide by 2, round down.
      • Then sum together the number of levels you have taken in Rogue and Fighter (if you choose spellcasting subclasses) and divide by 3, round down.
      • Add half your levels (rounded up) in the artificer class.
      • Add all of these numbers up, and that becomes your new “Spellcasting Level” to match to the following chart.
      • This chart below will tell you how many spell slots you have total.
        • Note that you may have spell slots that are a higher level than spells you know. You can use those spell slots to cast lower-level spells.
New Spellcasting Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1 2
2 3
3 4 2
4 4 3
5 4 3 2
6 4 3 3
7 4 3 3 1
8 4 3 3 2
9 4 3 3 3 1
10 4 3 3 3 2
11 4 3 3 3 2 1
12 4 3 3 3 2 1
13 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1
  • Warlocks have their own set of rules that are pretty stellar. If you gain levels in Warlock, use the spellcasting rules for your other class in addition to the Pact Magic rules for your Warlock class, including the number of spell slots you have. Essentially, you will have spell slots in your Warlock class AND spell slots in your other class(es). You can interchange these spell slots: use Warlock spell slots for spells you learned from another class, and vice versa.
    • Example: Expend a 2nd level spell slot from your Warlock Pact Magic to cast a 2nd level Wizard spell you know.

Proficiencies for a New Class Differ from Normal: When you multiclass, you do NOT gain every proficiency that the new class has. Instead, follow this table to know which proficiencies you add:

New Class Proficiencies You Gain
Artificer Light armor, medium armor, shields, thieves’ tools, tinker’s tools
Barbarian Shields, simple and martial weapons
Bard Light armor, one skill of your choice, one musical instrument of your choice
Cleric Light and medium armor, shields
Druid Light and medium armor, shields (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)
Fighter Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons
Monk Simple weapons, shortswords
Paladin Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons
Ranger Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons, one skill from the class’s skill list
Rogue Light armor, one skill from the class’s skill list, thieves’ tools
Warlock Light armor, simple weapons

There are additional Unearthed Arcana Prestige Class rules that we will not go into here.


Whether you are increasing your character’s utility or developing a beautiful story arch, multiclassing can empower your character in a myriad of ways.

Was this guide helpful? Are there any points that could use further clarification? Please comment below so that we can continue to create a helpful guide for our readers.

Check out our multiclassing combinations article as it’s one of our most popular reads.

See also these stellar multiclass combinations:

17 thoughts on “<b>How to Multiclass in D&D 5e</b>: Basic Guide”

  1. Minimum ability scores for multiclassing are wrong in this article. Here are the correct prerequisites:
    Barbarian Strength 13
    Bard Charisma 13
    Cleric Wisdom 13
    Druid Wisdom 13
    Fighter Strength 13 or Dexterity 13
    Monk Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
    Paladin Strength 13 and Charisma 13
    Ranger Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
    Rogue Dexterity 13
    Sorcerer Charisma 13
    Warlock Charisma 13
    Wizard Intelligence 13

      1. Robert Peetsalu

        While re-reading this I found this place still referring to the wrong prerequisite attribute for Cleric: “For example, as a Rogue multiclassing into a Cleric, you must have Dexterity 13 (for Rogue) and Strength 13 (for Cleric).”

  2. Nothing said about “Ability Score Improvement/Feats” if you multiclass certain ways you never get any. I would love more clarification on how to maximize ones classes and still get your feats. They are class based feature as I have been let to believe and you do NOT get them if you skip that lvl in said class.

    1. Hi Todd,
      It’s true, multiclassing always comes with a cost-to-benefit analysis. Ability Score Improvements and Feats are gained based on class levels, not character levels (as you said). Players will need to decide if they’d rather gain the benefits of another class at a given level as they depart from their core class. DMs can be helpful in making these decisions if players are unsure of what choices just sound cool versus getting the player what they want out of their character in the simplest way possible. I added a bit to our article to point out ASIs specifically since you suggested its importance. Thank you for the input!

    2. You cannot skip the level. Most feats are gained when you reach 4th level. So say you are 3rd level rogue/3rd level wizard, when you gain a level in either class you will gain a feat. So when you get to rogue 3 and wizard 4 you gain a feat. Also when you get to rogue 4 and wizard 4 you gain another feat. This makes you an eighth level character with 2 feats.

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s up to you DM to decide how many times you can level up because there is no rule about only leveling up 20 times.

    1. Hi Solomon! The truth is actually the reverse of what you described. The PHB for D&D 5e only supports character progression to level 20 in its rules (p.15). That same page of the PHB describes how the highest tier of play is for levels 17-20, describing no tier beyond that range (it would say “17+” if progression was supported beyond level 20). The DMG has an entire section devoted to giving rewards to level-20 characters since they won’t level up further (p.231). This is why multiclassing comes with the cost of passing up features of either class involved in the multiclass build. Of course your DM can create a homebrew system for progressing past level 20; it would be easy to simply build the experience-by-level table in the PHB to go beyond level 20, allowing a character to reach higher levels in multiple classes. If you’ve been playing with a group that goes beyond level 20, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it is the exception to the rule, not the rule.
      There is a discussion on progression beyond level 20 here on D&D Beyond’s forum:

      1. WotC have stated you can run a campaign into Epic Levels (20+), it depends entirely on the DM. What isn’t supported without homebrewing is a class going passed 20, but if the player wanted, they could multiclass and become a level 40 character (20 Barbarian/20 Fighter as an example) if they wanted to. At levels 17 – 20, a character already literally has the power to change and effect the multiverse.

        1. Yes, I believe I explained clearly that it’s a viable option to go above level 20. It’s not typical for a player to expect leveling past twenty, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a group to do. It is still factual to say that leveling past twenty is not mechanically described in the core books, even if it’s easy to do so for anyone wanting to.

  4. Extremely helpful and concise, thanks so much for writing this up. Made multiclassing a much less confusing endeavour for a nooby like me.

  5. The proficiencies you gain from multiclass are only the weapon/armour pros, you don’t get any of the skill proficiencies?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Actually, you can gain skill proficiencies from multiclassing (see Ranger and Rogue in the multiclass table, for example). Depends on the multiclass. Some classes also gain proficiencies as class or subclass features, so that’s another way aside from the multiclassing table.

  6. Kayla Delury

    Hi, lets say you multiclass before your character gets to 20, can you lvl up your new class to be higher than your original class? For example, you’re a Paladin lvl2 & multiclass into a Wizard. Can you lvl up in Wizard to 3 before you lvl up in Paladin? Or do you have to lvl up in Paladin before Wizard? (In 5e)

    1. Hi! You absolutely can level up your multiclass higher than your original class. Let’s say you start level 1 as a Rogue for the four skills/proficiencies that class will get. It’s totally okay by the rules to then multiclass 19 levels in Fighter. The only benefit to choosing a starting class is the initial proficiencies and skills you gain at level 1. Refer to the Proficiencies Table in the article to see what new skills/proficiencies you’d gain as you multiclass into another class.

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