Your Quick Guide to Multiclass 5e

June 28, 2021 10 min read

Author:Rhenn Anthony Taguiam

 

Meta Description:Multiclassing leads to more complex characters in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, and this guide will help you maximize your multiclass opportunities in D&D 5e.

 

Characters in video games usually have to be “confined” to a particular class. However, TTRPGs like Dungeons & Dragons 5egive players the opportunity to go all out with their builds. In fact, aside from sticking to one class, the game allows players to Multiclassinto other classes. Do you want your Conjuration Wizard to be a Champion Fighter? D&D 5ehas got you covered!

 

If you’ve ever read the 5e Player’s Handbook section on the Multiclass feature, we can’t blame you for being a bit overwhelmed. Despite being “cool,” Multiclassing demands a bit of math for players who want to give their characters multiple specializations. This quick give will give you a rundown on everything you have to remember when multiclassing.

Ready to Dip? Your Multiclass Options

Multiclassing can be such an awesome way to further personalize your character, as they can finally do things they wouldn’t normally do as a member of their primary class. If you want to pursue Multiclassing your character, here’s a quick look at your Multiclass options:

 

  • Artificer
    • Ability Score Requirement: INT 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: Armor (Light, Medium), Shields, Thieves’ Tools, Tinker’s Tools
    • Other Considerations:
      • Magical Tinkering (Level 1) enables Artificers to do mild tinkering with items, while Infuse Item (Level 2) grants certain buffs to items.
      • Being a Level 20 Artificer grants you a +1 Bonus to all Saving Throws for each attuned Magic Item, up to +6. This might be unattainable if you multiclass.

 

  • Barbarian
    • Ability Score Requirement: STR 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Shields, Weapons (Simple, Martial)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Rage (Feature, triggered in a Bonus Action) will give you bonus damage and resistance if you’re not wearing heavy armor.
      • Reckless Attack (Level 2) can give much-needed advantage on melee attacks, while Danger Sense (Level 2) can give advantage to DEX saves.
      • Feral Instinct (Level 7) gives advantage on Initiative rolls.

 

  • Bard
    • Ability Score Requirement:CHA 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Armor (Light), 1 Skill of your choice, 1 Musical Instrument of your choice
    • Other Considerations:
      • Bardic Inspiration (Feature) can give creatures Bardic Inspiration die to add to their ability checks, attack rolls, and saves. This die scales on certain levels.
      • Jack of All Trades (Level 2) will let you add half of your Proficiency Bonus to an Ability Check that doesn’t have a Proficiency Bonus added to it.
      • Song of Rest (Level 2) adds healing to creatures that use their Hit Dice during rests.

 

  • Cleric
    • Ability Score Requirement:WIS 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: Armor (Light, Medium), Shields
    • Other Considerations:
      • Channel Divinity (Feature) can add a whole host of useful abilities to Clerics depending on your chosen Domain.
      • Destroy Undead (Level 5) can instantly destroy undead that fail the Turn Undead feature’s saving throw, depending on certain conditions.
      • Divine Intervention (Level 10) can have the Cleric beseech the assistance of their deity to intervene in a situation.

 

  • Druid
    • Ability Score Requirement:WIS 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Armor (Light, Medium), Shields
    • Other Considerations:
      • Druids won’t wear armor or use shields made of metal.
      • Wild Shape (Level 2) lets Druids take the form of any beast they’ve seen before, depending on certain conditions. These forms grant special effects based on the animal chosen.

 

  • Fighter
    • Ability Score Requirement: STR 13 OR DEX 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: Armor (Light, Medium), Shields, Weapons (Simple, Martial)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Fighting Style (Feature) can help you adapt to certain situations thanks to perks provided by your style of choice.
      • Second Wind (Level 2) can help regain HP in sticky situations, while Action Surge (Level 2) can give an additional action that adds a lot of versatility to Fighters.
      • Depending on the archetype, Fighters can gain access to Maneuvers that can further diversify their role in the battlefield.

 

  • Monk
    • Ability Score Requirement: DEX 13 AND WIS 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Weapons (Simple), Short Swords
    • Other Considerations:
      • Martial Arts (Feature) transforms Monks into living weapons, as they can use their fists for attack. Moreover, Ki (Level 2) lets Monks perform special feats.
      • Deflect Missiles (Level 3) can help Monks catch or deflect missiles that attack them from ranged attacks, and Slow Fall (Level 4) can reduce damage from falls.

 

  • Paladin
    • Ability Score Requirement: STR 13 AND CHA 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: Armor (Light, Medium), Shields, Weapons (Simple, Martial)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Fighting Style (Feature) enables Paladins to perform various roles on the battlefield, like the Fighter.
      • Divine Sense (Feature) lets them sense the presence of undead, fiends, or celestials nearby, while Divine Health (Level 3) makes them immune to disease.
      • Lay on Hands (Level 2) enables Paladins to heal allies through touch, while Divine Smite (Level 2) can add devastating damage to attacks.

 

  • Ranger
    • Ability Score Requirement:DEX 13 AND WIS 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Armor (Light, Medium), Shields, Weapons (Simple, Martial), 1 Skill from the Ranger Skill List
    • Other Considerations:
      • Fighting Style (Feature) gives Rangers the opportunity to have a more flexible role in the battlefield, like the Fighter and the Paladin.
      • Favored Enemy (Level 1) gives Rangers an edge against certain creatures, while Natural Explorer (Feature) gives perks when exploring certain areas.

 

  • Rogue
    • Ability Score Requirement:DEX 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Armor (Light), 1 Skill from the Rogue Skill List, Thieves’ Tools
    • Other Considerations:
      • Expertise (Level 1) grants them double the Proficiency Bonus for checks that use certain proficiencies.
      • Sneak Attack (Level 1) deals extra damage to surprised opponents, while Cunning Action (Level 2) can help Rogues act quickly amid combat to Dash, Disengage, or Hide.
      • Evasion (Level 7) also enables them to succeed DEX Saves unharmed, while others take half damage.

 

  • Sorcerer
    • Ability Score Requirement: CHA 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: (None)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Font of Magic (Level 2) gives Sorcerers access to Sorcery Points that enable them to improve the way they cast their spells.
      • Metamagic (Level 3) lets Sorcerers spend Sorcery Points to do a wide variety of magical effects that can let them cast much farther, cast stronger spells, extend spell duration, or even twin spells that usually affect single targets.

 

  • Warlock
    • Ability Score Requirement: CHA 13
    • Proficiencies Gained:Armor (Light), Weapons (Simple)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Pact Magic (Feature) gives Warlocks “gifts” according to their Otherworldly Patron, with their Eldritch Invocations (Level 2) giving them access to special abilities for their service.
      • Pact Boon (Level 3) will also bestow upon the Warlock a gift from their Patron, which can be a Weapon, a Familiar, or a Tome.
      • Mystic Arcanum (Level varies) gives the Warlock the ability to cast a powerful spell once without expending spell slots, with certain conditions.

 

  • Wizard
    • Ability Score Requirement: INT 13
    • Proficiencies Gained: (None)
    • Other Considerations:
      • Arcane Recovery (Feature) enables Wizards to regain spell slots they’ve lost in short rest instead of just relying on long rests.
      • Much of a Wizard’s special features can be obtained depending on their School, which further adds flexibility to the Wizard’s repertoire of magical abilities.

Spellcasting In Multiclass

Many people choose to Multiclass to give their characters more combat and utility options, mostly in the form of spells. Unfortunately for players, this is also where things get a bit overwhelming… at a glance. Spellcasting in Multiclass is actually an easy concept to grasp. You need to remember some points first:

 

  • Classes Chosen:If you’ve dipped into different classes but only have Spellcasting for one class, you follow the rules for Spellcasting as indicated by that class.
  • Spellcasting Ability:Whenever you cast a spell associated with one of your classes, you should use the Spellcasting Ability for that class.
  • Spellcasting Focus:If your class has a dedicated Spellcasting Focus (such as a Holy Symbol), then your Spellcasting Focus will only work with spells from your class that uses that focus.
  • Spells Known and Prepared: You should determine your Spells Known and Prepared Spells as though you’re single-classed.
    • For instance, if you’re Ranger 4/Wizard 3, then:
      • Ranger: You know three (3) 1st-Level Ranger spells
      • Wizard: You know three (3) Wizard cantrips, and your Spellbook as 10 Wizard spells. Moreover, if your INT is 16 then you can prepare six (6) spells from your Spellbook.
    • Spell Slots:You have a separate table for spell slots as a Multiclass Spellcaster. You can identify how many spell slots you have based on the table below:

 

Level

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

1st

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2nd

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3rd

4

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4th

4

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5th

4

3

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

6th

4

3

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

7th

4

3

3

1

-

-

-

-

-

8th

4

3

3

2

-

-

-

-

-

9th

4

3

3

3

1

-

-

-

-

10th

4

3

3

3

2

-

-

-

-

11th

4

3

3

3

2

1

-

-

-

12th

4

3

3

3

2

1

-

-

-

13th

4

3

3

3

2

1

1

-

-

14th

4

3

3

3

2

1

1

-

-

15th

4

3

3

3

2

1

1

1

-

16th

4

3

3

3

2

1

1

1

-

17th

4

3

3

3

2

1

1

1

1

18th

4

3

3

3

3

1

1

1

1

19th

4

3

3

3

3

2

1

1

1

20th

4

3

3

3

3

2

2

1

1

\

  • Multiclass Spellcaster Level: In order to use the table above, you need to calculate your Multiclass Spellcaster Level, which can be done by summing up:
    • Levels in Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard Levels
    • Half of Levels (Round Down) in Artificer, Paladin, and Ranger
    • Third of Levels (Round Down) in Fighter or Rogue (if you have the Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster archetype)
  • Higher-Level Spell Slots:If you have spell slots of higher levels but don’t have spells of that particular level, you can still use those higher-level spell slots to cast lower-level spells you know and even enhance them (if available).
  • Pact Magic:If you have both Pact Magic and Spellcasting features from the Warlock class and another spellcasting class, respectively, then you can interchange the spell slots dedicated for Pact Magic and Spellcasting features.

Important Reminders

If you decide to Multiclass in D&D 5e, you should remember that some things in your character sheet won’t be based on your original class’s setup anymore. Here are things you need to take note when dipping into other classes:

 

  • Experience Points:If your party earns levels via Experience Points, there aren’t any changes here. Your Experience Points for level advancement will stay the same regardless of what class you choose per level.
    • For instance, if you’re a Fighter 3/Monk 1, then you need to get enough XP to get to Level 5 before you dip into Monk 2.
  • Proficiency Bonus:Like XP, Proficiency Bonus is always based on your Character Level. Proficiency Bonuses have the same progress regardless of what class you choose.
  • Hit Points:When you dip into a new class, your HP will be based on the Hit Points of your new class for levels after Level 1. You can’t gain the 1st-Level HP of a class as you can only get this as a Level 1 character.
    • For instance, if you’re a Fighter 3/Paladin 1 and you plan on dipping into Paladin 2, then your HP will either be your roll (1d10 + CON Modifier) or stock (6 + CON Modifier), depending on what the table has chosen at the start of the campaign.
    • In the above example, 1d10 is the Hit Dice of the Paladin (so its stock is 6, as it’s dX/2 + 1, where X is the number of sides).
  • Hit Dice:In the case of Hit Dice, you simply add the assigned Hit Dice of all your classes.
    • If all your classes have the same Hit Dice, you can pool them together. For instance, if you’re a Paladin 3/Fighter 1, then you have 4d10 Hit Dice as a Level 4 character (since both Paladin and Fighter have d10 Hit Dice).
    • If your classes have different Hit Dice types, then you have both types of Hit Dice. For instance, if you’re a Paladin 3/Cleric 1, then you have 3d10 Hit Dice and 1d8 Hit Dice (since Clerics have d8 Hit Dice).
  • Extra Attack:The Extra Attack feature from two classes won’t add up together unless it explicitly states that there’s another Extra Attack available according to that class.
    • Classes only get one Extra Attack, which they gain at a certain Class Level.
    • However, Fighters get an Extra Attack on Level 5, Level 11, and Level 20. This feature lets them have up to three Extra Attacks unlike other classes.
    • As such, a Fighter 5/Paladin 5will only have one Extra Attack.
  • Unarmored Defense:Like with Extra Attack, you can only gain Unarmored Defense once and can’t get it again from another class.
  • Channel Divinity:You can get new Channel Divinity effects from your Multiclass, but you won’t get additional uses of Channel Divinity. You can only get additional uses of Channel Divinity if a Class Level says so.
    • For instance, if you’re a Cleric 6/Paladin 1, you can use Channel Divinity for two times between rests as your Cleric levels allow you to do so. As such, you can use any Channel Divinity effects from both classes.

Should My Multiclass Affect My Story?

While Multiclassing sounds like an awesome idea on paper, the idea of dipping into classes might not make immediate sense in the campaign. For instance, a Paladin will usually have enough stamina to dip into a few Sorcerer levels, but it’s not always something that “makes sense” given the story. How can a Paladin faithful to Bahamut suddenly gain access to Shadow Magic?

 

Players and DMs worried about the story implications of their Multiclass should consider the following options:

 

  • Allow class dipping provided it makes sense for the character.Some DMs and players want to make sure their characters stay as “realistic” to the story as possible, which might extend into Multiclassing. DMs have the option to enforce a rule where Multiclass is only allowed provided there’s a reasonable backstory to it, which can help flesh out character backstories.
  • Find a way to weave the Multiclass into the main story.Alternatively, DMs and players can also find a way to weave the Multiclass into the main story. Have players met NPCs that can serve as their mentors for their respective Multiclass options? These can be a great way for the DM to flesh out the campaign setting.
  • Notify the table of their Multiclass choices in advance.A lot of players often think about their character’s Multiclass options very early on. DMs can make it a rule for players to announce their Multiclass options during character creation, so DMs can consider incorporating class dipping into the characters’ respective arcs.
  • Ignore the potential inconsistency.At the end of the day, D&Dis about having fun at the table. If forcing a story into a player’s Multiclass call will inconvenience the entire story, perhaps it’s something the entire table can decide to forego. This solution often prevails in most tables.

Get to Multiclassing!

And that caps our quick guide to multiclassing in D&D 5e! You now have a basic overview of all the things you need to consider when dipping into other classes. Remember, you have to make sure you meet the Ability Score requirements as dictated by your chosen Multiclass before you can enjoy its benefits. Moreover, you have to be careful with how many levels you want to dip in for you to fully maximize your Multiclass option.

 

What’s your favorite Multiclass build? Do share it with us in the comments! We’d also love to hear your personal Multiclassing tips!