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A Beginner's Guide to Multiclassing Characters in Dungeons and Dragons

Author: Critical RoleTime: 2024-01-07 02:35:01

Table of Contents

Mix and Match Classes for Custom Characters

Multiclassing in D&D allows you to customize your character by taking levels in multiple classes to bring unique concepts to life. For example, your Rogue could mix in some Wizard levels to gain destructive magic, your Barbarian could dabble in Warlock to get a taste of their devil-hugging lifestyle, or you could create an entirely new combo like a Fighter Monk Bard with knowledge and physique to intimidate all.

The key motivation for multiclassing should come from your character's experiences and growth. Maybe your Ranger had an encounter with a powerful magic user and now wants to emulate them. Or your Fighter picked up some Bard spells from nights of singing campfire limericks. Let your roleplaying guide you to exciting multiclassing opportunities.

Multiclassing Rules and Guidelines

While multiclassing opens up creativity, there are some rules to keep things balanced. The big one is meeting ability score prerequisites - having at least 13 in the key abilities of your current class and 13 in the key ability of your new class. For example, a Ranger multiclassed into Wizard needs 13 Dexterity, 13 Wisdom, and 13 Intelligence. Check the full list of prerequisites on page 163 of the Player's Handbook. When you gain a level in a new class, you keep most features from your old class while gaining the features of your new class's level. A few things change though: your hit points, hit dice, some weapon/armor proficiencies, and spellcasting rules if applicable. Carefully read pages 164-165 of the Player's Handbook to understand exactly what transfers over or merges.

Ability Score Prerequisites for Multiclassing

As mentioned in the previous section, you must meet certain ability score prerequisites to qualify for multiclassing into a new class. Specifically, you need a score of at least 13 in the primary abilities of both your current class and your new class. See the handy chart on page 163 of the Player's Handbook for the full list.

For example, if your Ranger wanted to multiclass into a Wizard, you'd need 13 Dexterity and 13 Wisdom to qualify as a Ranger, plus 13 Intelligence to have the mental faculties required of a Wizard. Make sure to review and meet all prerequisites first before attempting to multiclass.

What You Keep and Gain When Multiclassing

When you gain a level in a new class, you generally keep all the features, proficiencies, spells, and other elements from your previous class levels. You also gain most of the starting features of your new class level.

The specifics that change are: your hit points and hit dice go up based on the new class's rules, you gain some but not all of the new class's weapon/armor proficiencies, and your spellcasting calculation gets more complicated if the new class also casts spells. Carefully study pages 164-165 of the Player's Handbook for guidance on what transfers over versus what combines or merges.

Multiclassing and Spellcasting

As outlined on page 165 of the Player's Handbook, figuring out your spellcasting ability as a multiclassed caster requires some legwork but follows a clear process:

First add up your full caster class levels (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard) to find your base caster level. Then halve your Paladin/Ranger levels (rounded down) and add to the base. Finally take 1/3 of your Eldritch Knight/Arcane Trickster levels (rounded down) and add as well. Use the total with the spell slot table.

For learning/preparing specific spells, treat each class separately based on their individual class levels and ability scores. But you can use spell slots interchangeably once calculated via the table.

Why Multiclass Characters in D&D

Multiclassing opens up exciting opportunities to create truly unique and customized characters that evolve over their journey in creative ways. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Mix traits from multiple classes for interesting combos

  • Expand your capabilities by covering weaknesses of your original class

  • Allows deeper roleplaying by showing your character's growth and influences

  • Keeps gameplay exciting by adding new features, spells, skills as you level

  • Creates unexpected power spikes via synergetic multiclass combos


While the rules around multiclassing can seem intimidating at first, with some study of the Player's Handbook guidance you can unlock tremendous potential for customization and fun. Just make sure to clear it with your DM first and have solid roleplaying motivation backing up any multiclassing choices.

Once your Ranger takes up Wizardry after that fateful encounter or your campfire limerick inspires your Fighter into Bard college, hold onto your hats! Multiclassing opens up wild possibilities for living out your wildest character concepts.


Q: Is multiclassing optional in D&D?
A: Yes, multiclassing is an optional rule in D&D. Check with your Dungeon Master before creating a multiclass character.

Q: What are the ability score prerequisites for multiclassing?
A: To multiclass, you need a minimum ability score of 13 in the key abilities of your current class and 13 in the key ability of the class you want to multiclass into.

Q: Do I get all class features when I multiclass?
A: You get most class features, but some like Extra Attack and Unarmored Defense do not stack when gained from multiple classes.

Q: How do spell slots work when multiclassing spellcasters?
A: Use the Multiclass Spellcaster table on page 165 of the Player's Handbook to determine your total number of spell slots.

Q: Can a multiclassed character reach level 20?
A: No, total character level is capped at 20 even if your individual class levels add up to more.

Q: Why would I want to multiclass my character?
A: For added customization and roleplaying opportunities. Mix classes that fit your character's growth.

Q: Is multiclassing complicated for beginners?
A: It can be! Carefully review the multiclassing rules before diving in.

Q: What should I do if I don't understand something about multiclassing?
A: Read pages 163-165 of the Player's Handbook or rewatch tutorials until you understand.

Q: Can a fighter multiclass into a wizard?
A: Yes! A fighter can become an Eldritch Knight by multiclassing into a few levels of wizard.

Q: Can a barbarian multiclass as a warlock?
A: Absolutely! A barbarian-warlock multiclass is an intriguing and viable character concept.