“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.
- 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.
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)|
|Fighter||Strength 13 or Dexterity 13|
|Monk||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13|
|Paladin||Strength 13 and Charisma 13|
|Ranger||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The spells you learn are dependent on the levels of the spellcasting classes you take.
|New Spellcasting Level||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th|
- 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:
- Assassin of the Grave
- Druid Monk Beast Ninja: Monkey Fist
- Battle Master Rogue Multiclass
- Paladin Warlock Ranger Multiclass
- Arcane Assassin Archer Multiclass
- See our Ultimate 5e Rogue Fighter Multiclass Guide for our in-depth analysis on Rogue-Fighter combinations.
- Learn which Ranger Paladin Multiclass Combinations we love the most.