Friday, October 14, 2011

Old School Dual Classing?

If one of the many fighters in my campaign said they wanted to become a cleric, how should I handle it?  How about magic user?  I think my conception of the latter involves years of book study and it wouldn't be possible, but maybe I'm thinking too narrowly.  Do you have any simple dual/multiclass rules for old school play?


  1. I think S&W Core has simple rules included, Complete certainly does. I'd allow it, sure. I'd even be fairly lenient on dualling over to cleric. No doubt the character had some sort of religious experience that let him "see the light".

  2. I'm waiting for a contributing author to give me green light about making public. Meanwhile I suggest to use something like the d20 system approach.

  3. Are you looking for mechanics, or in-game justification?

    The original dual classing rules are the simplest, and in my opinion the best: if you want to switch classes, you need a 16+ in the new class's prime requisite, and MU/Cleric are mutually exclusive. OD&D is silent about other things (like hit dice,) but I'd add the following rules: you get the best hit dice, attacks, and saves of all your classes; you can't cast MU spells while wearing a helmet or armored gloves (or holding anything other than a staff, wand or dagger,) and you stop earning levels in your old class unless you have a 16+ in that class's prime requisite.

    I don't worry about in-game justification much, because I see the classes as representing a knack rather than training. A normal man has a moment of insight (or faith) and begins developing into a hero, magician, or priest. Maybe I'd have a character take a week or a month off to pick up associated class skills.

  4. Yeah, I use the AD&D rules - though I see few players taking the option.

  5. Well, the multi-class rules in 'Men & Magic' state that the character needs at least a 16 in the Prime Requisite of the new class. The only other rule is that Magic-Users may not become Clerics and vice-versa. These work for me, but I run a pretty old-school game. I don't know if this helps or not...

  6. Oops, I just noticed Talysman posted the same thing! Double-post!

  7. This was one of the big reasons I switched to a classless system. Why would a cleric of the god of War have the same attack rate as a cleric of some peaceful god? or what if a natural swordsman was adopted by a temple? or a mage? I wanted to allow for dynamic backstories to represent themselves on the player's sheet, and classes, cross-class skills, etc., make that difficult. It was a huge reason I switched to a modified d10 system.
    But still, I've kept training times, especially for magic. It's not easy to learn and you can blow yourself up if you mess up. I've had people roll new characters to play while their main character is off being trained. It's worked out pretty well - and it's just more realistic.

  8. Thanks, all.

    @Koren: yep, the version of core has quite a bit of extra stuff added from my version. Had no idea, wish it had a version number or something. The rules are essentially those Talysman gives below.

    @tsojcanth: color me interested.

    @Talysman: Thanks, those are quite simple except for how experience is gained going forward. Does a Fighter/Mage gain xp for an adventure if they used a sword?

    As for in game justification, I may write more about it, but it seems more apparent that I consider classes archetypes not skillsets so you shouldn't mix and match them.

    @C and Frotz: Thanks

    @Frankie: Your first example I would probably handle similar to the way 2e did with bonus spells or powers granted to priests depending on their god/domain. But clerics aren't much weaker than fighters in my game as it is. The second example, the swordsman raised in a temple I would make a fighter. Sure she prays, or she can read, but archetypally she's a fighter.

    I don't have a problem with fighters not being able to cast spells or mages not being able to swordfight. I consider these lifelong pursuits. I think a lot of interesting background can be extrapolated from stats: the fighter with a lousy con, the mage built like a truck. Of course that doesn't let players, choose, but then that's our old school approach-- for us to interpret what the dice give us in interesting ways.

  9. Another vote for rules-as-written AD&D on dual-classing, for you.

    For me... I require them to spend their current experience into the new class at a rate equivalent to "as earned". So if they earn 800XP on an adventure, they deduct 800XP from their Fighter total and add 800XP to their Cleric total. If they violate any Cleric restrictions during the session they don't gain the XP in Cleric, nor do they lose it from Fighter.

  10. I should add that

    1) They must be name level to attempt dual classing and

    2) once the XP totals are equal, they no longer deduct from the first class and can exercise both sets of functions freely.

    So it isn't unbelievably harsh... just pretty harsh.

  11. as far as experience and accoutrements, I stole the 1e dual-class rules for my LBB games-keep your hit dice, start at 1st level in the new class, abide by all strictures of the new class until you've surpassed the first class, and then you can switch freely between but only between combat. M-Us can wield swords but never wear armor or use shields and cast, and clerics who still cast spells can never use edged weapons, period. Like -C, I haven't had too many takers but every once in a while there's an intrepid soul who dares to try.

  12. @Telecanter:

    Does a Fighter/Mage gain xp for an adventure if they used a sword?

    I would say "sure"... but then, I may look at experience differently. I definitely don't regard it as training, but a combo of intangible general knowledge and reputation.