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The Ultimate Multiclassing Guide for D&D Players

Updated: Feb 13

Introduction - unleashing the Power of Multiclassing in D&D



One of the unique features of D&D character creation is the ability to multiclass, which means taking levels in more than one class. This allows players to create complex characters with a wide range of abilities, but it also comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.


In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of multiclassing in D&D character creation. We'll discuss the advantages of having access to a wider range of abilities and spells, improved versatility in combat and non-combat situations, and the opportunity to fill gaps in a party's composition.


We'll also cover the potential drawbacks, such as slower progression in a primary class, delayed access to high-level abilities and spells, and the risk of underperforming in combat compared to single-class characters.


Additionally, we'll provide examples of popular and effective multiclassing builds, including their strengths and weaknesses. This will give players an idea of the kind of characters they can create and how to optimize their multiclassing choices. We'll also share tips for multiclassing, such as considerations when selecting classes and levels, ways to mitigate the drawbacks of multiclassing, and the importance of discussing multiclassing with the DM and other players.


By the end of this blog post, readers should have a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of multiclassing in D&D character creation, as well as the tools and knowledge to create their own unique and powerful multiclass characters.


Whether you're a seasoned D&D player looking to try something new or a beginner looking to explore the possibilities of character creation, this blog post is for you. Let's dive in and explore the exciting world of multiclassing in D&D!


Why multiclass?

Multiclassing in D&D offers several benefits that can enhance a player's experience in the game. Firstly, it allows for the creation of unique character builds that can utilize skills and abilities from multiple classes. Players have access to a wider range of abilities and spells, which can improve versatility in combat and non-combat situations.


Additionally, multiclassing provides the opportunity to fill gaps in a party's composition, which is especially useful when playing with a group of players. It also offers more options for character development and roleplaying.


For instance, a character who has levels in both fighter and wizard classes could have both martial and magical abilities, allowing for more diverse gameplay. Multiclassing is a great way to take a character to the next level and make the game of dungeons and dragons more exciting.


It is important to keep in mind the monster manual and game world when designing the character to ensure they fit into the game world and can interact with non-player characters in a meaningful way.


By following best practices outlined in the Dungeon Master's Guide and consulting with the game master, a player can create a character that will be a valuable party member and plot hook.


In the first session, the DM can introduce the character to the rest of the party and use it as a way to get the story going. Overall, multiclassing is a great way to add more depth to a character and make the game session a better experience for everyone involved.


When not to multiclass

While multiclassing in D&D can offer several benefits, it also has some drawbacks that players should consider before making the decision to multiclass. One significant drawback is slower progression in a primary class, as the player must split experience points between multiple classes. This can delay access to high-level abilities and spells, which can be frustrating for players who are looking forward to mastering their primary class.


Another issue with multiclassing is the complicated decision-making process for selecting classes and levels. Players must consider the benefits and drawbacks of each class and choose which ones to focus on, which can be overwhelming for new dungeon masters and players. It is important to consult the Dungeon Master's Guide and consider the game world and campaign when selecting classes and levels. Using tools like character sheets and sticky notes can help keep track of the character's progression and abilities.


Another potential drawback of multiclassing is the risk of creating a character that lacks focus or identity. Multiclassing can make it challenging to create a character that has a clear role in the party and a coherent backstory. It is important to consider the character's motivations and personality when choosing classes and levels to ensure that they have a unique identity that fits into the game world.


Finally, multiclassing can also come with the risk of underperforming in combat compared to single-class characters. Multiclass characters may not have the same level of proficiency in their abilities and spells as single-class characters, and they may struggle to keep up in combat encounters. This is something to consider when creating a character, as it could impact the overall success of the party in combat.


In summary, while multiclassing in D&D offers several benefits, such as access to a wider range of abilities and spells and improved versatility in combat and non-combat situations, it also has drawbacks. Players should be aware of the potential for slower progression in a primary class, a complicated decision-making process for selecting classes and levels, a lack of focus or identity in the character, and the risk of underperforming in combat compared to single-class characters.


By carefully considering these factors and consulting with the dungeon master and the Dungeon Master's Guide, players can make informed decisions about whether or not to multiclass their characters in their next adventure.


Basic Multiclass combinations

Multiclassing in D&D can lead to some truly unique and powerful character builds (as can class/race combinations). Here are three popular examples of multiclassing builds, along with their strengths and weaknesses.


  • The Sorcerer/Warlock Build This build combines the spellcasting abilities of a sorcerer with the otherworldly power of a warlock. Players who choose this build can expect access to a wide range of spells, eldritch invocations, and sorcery points. This build also allows players to use their Charisma score for both spellcasting and combat abilities. However, this build does suffer from slower progression in both classes and can be difficult to balance properly.


  • The Paladin/Sorcerer Build This build combines the martial prowess of a paladin with the magical might of a sorcerer. Players who choose this build can expect to be a highly versatile combatant, with access to both heavy armor and powerful spells. This build also allows players to use their Charisma score for both spellcasting and combat abilities. However, this build may suffer from slower progression in both classes and can be difficult to balance properly.


  • The Rogue/Warlock Build This build combines the sneaky skills of a rogue with the otherworldly power of a warlock. Players who choose this build can expect access to a wide range of spells, eldritch invocations, and sneak attack damage. This build also allows players to use their Charisma score for both spellcasting and combat abilities. However, this build may suffer from slower progression in both classes and can be difficult to balance properly.


  • The Paladin/Warlock: This build combines the martial abilities and divine magic of the Paladin with the eldritch powers of the Warlock. By taking at least 2 levels in Warlock, the character gains access to invocations which can improve their combat abilities and utility spells like Hex or Armor of Agathys. By taking levels in Paladin, the character gains access to powerful Divine Smites and healing spells. This combination is especially effective because the character can use their Warlock spell slots to fuel their Paladin smites, making them even more devastating. The downside is that the character will have fewer high-level spells than a single-class Paladin or Warlock, and they will need to carefully manage their resources to make the most of their abilities.


  • The Rogue/Bard: This build combines the sneaky skills and combat abilities of the Rogue with the musical magic of the Bard. By taking at least 3 levels in Bard, the character gains access to spells like Faerie Fire, Sleep, and Healing Word, as well as Bardic Inspiration which can boost their allies' abilities. By taking levels in Rogue, the character gains access to Sneak Attack and expertise in skills like Stealth and Thieves' Tools. This combination is especially effective because the character can use their Bardic Inspiration to boost their Sneak Attack damage, making them even deadlier in combat. The downside is that the character will have fewer high-level spells than a single-class Bard, and they will need to carefully balance their spellcasting and combat abilities to be effective in both areas.


Advanced Multi Class Builds for your D&D game


The Arcane Berserker


This build combines the brute force of a Barbarian with the magical prowess of a Wizard. The Arcane Berserker taps into their inner rage to fuel their spells, creating a powerful and deadly force on the battlefield.


Stats:

Race: Half-Orc

Classes: Barbarian 14 / Wizard 6 Background: Soldier

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Abilities:

  • Strength: 20

  • Dexterity: 14

  • Constitution: 18

  • Intelligence: 14

  • Wisdom: 10

  • Charisma: 8

Skills:

  • Athletics

  • Intimidation

  • Perception

  • Survival

Feats:

  • Great Weapon Master

  • War Caster

Equipment:

  • Greataxe

  • Spellbook

  • Component pouch

  • Explorer's pack

  • Potion of Healing

Spells:

  • Cantrips: Fire Bolt, Mage Hand, Mending, Minor Illusion

  • 1st Level: Shield, Mage Armor, Magic Missile

  • 2nd Level: Misty Step, Hold Person

Features:

  • Rage (3 uses per day)

  • Reckless Attack

  • Danger Sense

  • Extra Attack (2)

  • Brutal Critical (1)

  • Arcane Recovery (1 use per day)

  • School of Evocation: Sculpt Spells, Empowered Evocation, Overchannel

  • Action Surge (1 use per rest)

  • Unarmoured Defence

  • Fast Movement

  • Feral Instinct

  • Mindless Rage

  • Spellcasting (Wizard)

The Arcane Berserker is a formidable combination of raw strength and magical prowess. With their Barbarian abilities, they can dish out devastating melee attacks, while their Wizard spells give them a range of powerful offensive and defensive options. By using their Rage ability, the Arcane Berserker can deal extra damage and shrug off attacks, making them incredibly difficult to take down.


In combat, the Arcane Berserker can use their spells to deal damage to groups of enemies or to focus on a single target. They can use their Barbarian abilities to get up close and personal with their enemies, or hang back and cast spells from a distance. With their high Constitution and the War Caster feat, they can maintain concentration on their spells even while raging.


However, the Arcane Berserker is not without its weaknesses. They have lower Charisma, making them less effective at social interactions. They also have a limited number of spells per day, which can make them vulnerable in prolonged battles. Additionally, their multi-classing means they are slower to acquire higher-level abilities, putting them at a disadvantage compared to single-class characters at higher levels.


2. Divine Blade


Race: Half-Elf

Class: Paladin (Oath of Devotion) 6 / Sorcerer (Divine Soul) 14

Ability Scores:

  • Strength: 16 (+3)

  • Dexterity: 10 (+0)

  • Constitution: 14 (+2)

  • Intelligence: 8 (-1)

  • Wisdom: 10 (+0)

  • Charisma: 18 (+4)

Skills:

  • Athletics

  • Insight

  • Persuasion

  • Religion

Feats:

  • War Caster

  • Resilient (Constitution)

Equipment:

  • Plate armor

  • Shield

  • Holy Avenger longsword

  • Ring of Protection

  • Rod of the Pact Keeper

Spells:

  • Cantrips: Booming Blade, Green-Flame Blade, Sacred Flame, Spare the Dying

  • 1st Level: Bless, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Divine Favor, Shield of Faith

  • 2nd Level: Aid, Branding Smite, Hold Person, Magic Weapon

  • 3rd Level: Haste, Protection from Energy, Revivify

  • 4th Level: Banishment, Death Ward

  • 5th Level: Destructive Wave, Mass Cure Wounds

With this build, the Divine Blade can dish out a lot of damage in combat, thanks to the combination of divine smite and powerful spells like Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade. The War Caster feat allows the character to cast spells as opportunity attacks, while Resilient (Constitution) provides an additional boost to concentration checks.


The Holy Avenger longsword provides an extra boost to the character's divine smites, while the Ring of Protection and Rod of the Pact Keeper increase the character's spellcasting abilities.

The Divine Blade's spells are focused on support and buffing, with options like Bless and Haste to boost allies in combat, as well as healing spells like Cure Wounds and Mass Cure Wounds. Banishment and Death Ward provide powerful defences against enemy spellcasters and other deadly threats.


Overall, the Divine Blade build is a versatile and powerful combination of paladin and sorcerer abilities, making for a formidable and versatile character in combat and beyond.


3. Blood Mage


Race: Tiefling

Class: Sorcerer 6 / Warlock 14

Background: Charlatan

Ability Scores:

  • Strength: 8 (-1)

  • Dexterity: 14 (+2)

  • Constitution: 14 (+2)

  • Intelligence: 10 (+0)

  • Wisdom: 10 (+0)

  • Charisma: 20 (+5)

Skills: Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion, Arcana

Class Features:

  • Sorcerer: Spellcasting, Sorcery Points, Metamagic, Font of Magic

  • Warlock: Pact Magic, Eldritch Invocations, Pact Boon, Mystic Arcanum

Spells:

  • Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, Message

  • 1st Level: Hex, Shield, Mage Armor

  • 2nd Level: Darkness, Hold Person, Misty Step

  • 3rd Level: Counterspell, Hunger of Hadar, Life Drain

  • 4th Level: Banishment, Wall of Fire

Invocations:

  • Agonizing Blast: adds Charisma modifier to Eldritch Blast damage

  • Mask of Many Faces: allows the character to cast Disguise Self at will

  • Lifedrinker: adds Charisma modifier to Pact Weapon damage

Equipment:

  • Pact Weapon: Blackened Staff

  • Wand of the War Mage (+2)

  • Rod of the Pact Keeper (+2)

  • Studded Leather Armor

  • Arcane Focus: Red Gemstone

Description: The Blood Mage is a dark and powerful spellcaster who draws upon the life force of their enemies to fuel their own magic. They are a Tiefling, born with a natural affinity for sorcery, and were raised as a charlatan, learning to use their charm and deception to manipulate others. As they grew older, they made a pact with a powerful otherworldly being, gaining access to warlock magic in addition to their sorcery.


In combat, the Blood Mage uses Eldritch Blast as their primary attack, empowered by the Agonizing Blast invocation to deal massive damage. They also have access to a variety of spells that allow them to control the battlefield and drain the life force of their enemies. Their Pact Weapon, a blackened staff, can be used to deal additional damage, empowered by the Lifedrinker invocation.


The Blood Mage is a master of deception and intimidation, using their skills to manipulate others and get what they want. They are also highly skilled in Arcana, allowing them to understand the mysteries of magic and use it to their advantage.


Overall, the Blood Mage is a powerful and ruthless spellcaster who is not afraid to use dark magic to achieve their goals. They are best suited for players who enjoy playing a villainous character who is willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want.


4. The Demon Hunter


Stats:

Race: Human

Class: Ranger 5 / Paladin 5

Ability Scores:

  • Strength: 16 (+3)

  • Dexterity: 14 (+2)

  • Constitution: 14 (+2)

  • Intelligence: 10 (+0)

  • Wisdom: 14 (+2)

  • Charisma: 10 (+0)

Skills:

Skills: Athletics, Perception, Stealth, Survival,

  • Spells: Hunter's Mark, Cure Wounds, Detect Evil and Good, Protection from Evil and Good, Thunderous Smite, Divine Favor

  • Features: Favored Enemy (Undead), Natural Explorer (Forests), Fighting Style (Archery), Divine Smite, Lay on Hands, Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon)

  • Equipment: Longbow, Shortsword, Scale Mail, Shield, Explorer's Pack, Holy Symbol

This build combines the tracking and wilderness skills of a ranger with the divine smite and radiant damage of a paladin. By multiclassing into paladin, the character gains access to powerful spellcasting abilities that can be used to enhance their combat capabilities. With access to both spellcasting and a variety of ranger abilities such as favored enemy and natural explorer, this build is incredibly effective at tracking down and destroying supernatural creatures.


The Demon Hunter can deal massive amounts of damage to undead and fiends, which are common enemies in many campaigns. With a combination of favored enemy, divine smite, and the archery fighting style, the character can deal incredible amounts of radiant damage from range. In addition, they can use their ranger abilities to track down their enemies and navigate through difficult terrain.

Overall, The Demon Hunter is a great build for players who want to play a righteous and powerful warrior with a focus on tracking and destroying supernatural creatures.


5. Shadow Dancer

The Shadow Dancer:

Race: Half-Elf Class: Monk 14 / Rogue 6 Background: Criminal

Ability Scores:

Strength: 10 (+0) Dexterity: 20 (+5) Constitution: 14 (+2) Intelligence: 10 (+0) Wisdom: 14 (+2) Charisma: 10 (+0)

Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Stealth, Sleight of Hand, Deception, Perception


Class Features:

Monk: Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts, Ki, Unarmored Movement, Stillness of Mind, Evasion, Diamond Soul, Timeless Body, Tongue of the Sun and Moon Rogue: Expertise, Sneak Attack, Thieves' Cant, Cunning Action, Uncanny Dodge, Evasion

Equipment:

Shortsword Shortbow 20 Arrows Thieves' Tools Leather Armor Explorer's Pack

Description:

The Shadow Dancer is a nimble and deadly assassin, combining the speed and agility of a monk with the sneak attacks and skills of a rogue. They are a Half-Elf, with a mix of human and elven heritage, and grew up on the streets as a member of a criminal gang. They honed their skills in combat and thievery, eventually becoming a master of stealth and deception.

In combat, the Shadow Dancer uses their speed and agility to dodge attacks and close in on enemies, unleashing devastating sneak attacks with their shortsword. They are also highly skilled in archery, using their shortbow to strike from a distance. Their monk abilities allow them to move quickly and evade attacks, while their rogue abilities give them the skills they need to bypass traps and pick locks.

The Shadow Dancer is a master of stealth, able to move silently and blend in with their surroundings. They are also highly skilled in deception, using their charisma to talk their way out of tricky situations or manipulate others to do their bidding.

Overall, the Shadow Dancer is a deadly and versatile character who excels at taking out enemies quickly and silently. They are best suited for players who enjoy playing a rogue-like character with a focus on speed, agility, and stealth.

Conclusion


In conclusion, multiclassing can be a great way to create unique and powerful characters in D&D. However, it requires a good understanding of the game mechanics and the rules of each class, as well as a clear idea of the character's backstory and motivations. The key is to find the sweet spot between creativity and effectiveness, and to communicate effectively with your DM and fellow players.


By using the tips and resources provided in Wizards of the Coast's core D&D books (and of course our very own Arclands titles that you can download for free by subscribing to this site below), experienced DMs and new and veteran players alike can create multiclassed characters that add depth and excitement to their D&D campaigns. Whether it's through the use of magical items, battle maps, or skill challenges, there are many ways to make your multiclassed character shine in both combat and roleplaying scenarios.


Ultimately, the most important thing is to have a good time and work together as a team, with the DM serving as the guiding force behind the entire campaign. With the right mindset and a little bit of effort, anyone can become a great dungeon master and run a successful D&D adventure that will keep players coming back for more. So go forth, experiment with multiclassing, and have a blast exploring the endless possibilities of the world of tabletop RPGs.


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