Multiclassing in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons means taking a multiclass feat to gain some of the benefits of a second class. These benefits include more options for paragon paths and feats, and access to powers from the second class by spending additional feats. A character's primary and secondary classes are not equal; it's more like dabbling in a second class than splitting between the two. You can also create a Hybrid Character for a more balanced mix of the two classes. (page 134, Player Handbook 3)
In summary, multiclassing gives a character:
- Counting as both classes to meet prerequisites for feats, paragon paths, and epic destinies.
- Free training in a skill, sometimes specified, sometimes chosen from the second class's entire class skill list.
- Limited use of one or more class features from the new class.
- Access to the Novice Power, Acolyte Power, and Adept Power power swap feats to trade a class power for one from the new class.
- The ability to paragon multiclass, gaining still more powers from the new class instead of taking a paragon path.
Multiclassing is accomplished by taking a multiclass entry feat.
Eight multiclass entry feats are listed on page 208 of the Player's Handbook, and additional entry feats can be found in other rulebooks. Taking any of these feats causes a character to count as both the character's original class and the new class specified by the feat. For example, a warlock that takes the Arcane Initiate feat counts as both a warlock and a wizard, and satisfies either class requirement for feats, paragon paths, epic destinies, etc.
There are two big restrictions here. First, you cannot multiclass into your own class (no double dipping for repeat benefits, so a fighter can't multiclass into fighter), or any subclass of your own class. Second, unless you are a bard with the Multiclass Versatility class feature, you cannot take more than one multiclass feat, so you can dabble in one additional class but not two (although the epic path eternal seeker is a way to dabble in many classes fairly freely). Bards with Multiclass Versatility can multiclass multiple times.
Note: Multiclass entry feats are different from power swap feats, which are described below.
In addition to counting as two classes at once, you get the following benefits:
- You can take any feat, paragon path, or epic destiny for the new class.
- You gain free training in 1 skill from the class you multiclass into, as though you took the Skill Training feat. For some classes, this is a specific skill (Arcana for wizard, Religion for cleric, Thievery for rogue). All other classes let you pick any skill that is a class skill for that class.
- This means multiclassing can often be better than taking the Skill Training feat if you can meet the requirements, because you gain training plus extra benefits.
- You gain one class feature from the new class, determined by the multiclass feat taken. Multiclass feats may specify limited versions of class features, that is, the ability to use a normally at-will action once per encounter, or a normally encounter action once per day.
- You gain proficiency in implements the new class is proficient in, and you can use any implement with which you are proficient with any implement keyword power.
- You can take the power swap feats on page 209 of the Player's Handbook (explained below).
All of the above is provided with only 1 feat. If you have more feats to spare, the power swap feats may interest you.
Power swap feats
The power swap feats let you choose some power from your primary class that you're not ecstatic about and swap it for another power in the new class that's cooler. There are three power swap feats, each requiring you to be a specific level before you can take them:
- Novice Power (level 4): a multiclass encounter feat that swaps one encounter power
- Acolyte Power (level 8): a multiclass utility feat that swaps one utility power
- Adept Power (level 10): a multiclass daily feat that swaps one daily power
Each power swap feat lets you toss out one of your powers of a specific type and grab a power of the same type of equal level or lower in the new class. So if you didn't like the level 6 warlock utility spells, you could grab a level 6 or level 2 wizard utility spell instead.
- Even though you have to be a certain level or higher to take these feats, you can use them to swap powers of any level. Adept Power lets you swap any daily power of any level from your primary class for any daily power of the same level or lower in your secondary class.
- You can only do this with 1 power per swap feat, but every time you gain a level you can change your mind about which powers the feats apply to. Basically you undo the swap you did when you took the feat and decide again. This isn't just for undoing mistakes; if something better becomes available as you level up, you can grab it instead.
- Paragon path and epic destiny powers are not swappable through these feats.
You are a warlock who has multiclassed into wizard. You take Novice Power at level 6 and decide you want to swap your level 3 warlock encounter power for a level 3 wizard encounter power. You decide upon Icy Rays.
You had swapped a L6 warlock utility spell for a L6 wizard utility spell, but found something you liked better when you leveled up to level 10. You decide to undo your previous decision and grab the higher level power instead. You get your L6 warlock utility spell back and lose the level 6 wizard spell, and then trade out your L10 warlock spell for the L10 wizard spell you liked.
The only restrictions are that you can't swap out powers from your paragon or epic path, and you have to swap for a power of same level or lower.
Main article: Paragon multiclassing
There is one final perk to multiclassing. If you take a multiclass encounter, a multiclass utility, and a multiclass daily feat (such as the three power swap feats), you can decide to paragon multiclass instead of choosing a paragon path. If you do this, you get the following benefits in place of a paragon path's usual benefits:
- At level 11, you can choose to swap one of your class's at-will powers for an at-will power from your secondary class.
- At level 11, instead of gaining the paragon path encounter power, you can choose any encounter power of 7th level or lower from the new class.
- At level 11, you may use an action point to regain the use of an expended encounter power from the new class, instead of gaining an standard action.
- At level 12, instead of gaining the paragon path utility power, you can choose any utility power of 10th level or lower from the new class.
- At level 20, instead of gaining the paragon path daily power, you can choose any daily power of 19th level or lower from the new class.
- Characters with two equally split classes are called hybrid characters, which use completely separate rules from multiclassing.
- If you want to branch out further (or branch out without having to multiclass), eternal seeker is an ideal epic destiny.
- Unearthed Arcana in Dragon Magazine 421 provides alternate multiclass rules, picking class abilities for a given level in another class. Requires DM permission.