Author Topic: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?  (Read 619 times)

Offline X-Codes

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While I did play in a 2e game, and said 2e game is probably the second-longest running game I was ever part of, I was a wee lil' one when that happened and I had nowhere near the level of system mastery I can claim in 3e.  That said, I *also* play video games, and of course that means I've played Baldur's Gate, so I'm well aware of the concept of Dual Classing and how it makes Humans a super cool race even though they can't get that kinda silly broken 19 Strength that Half-Orcs can from the beginning.  Furthermore, there is another thing from older editions that clearly didn't make it into later editions: class-specific experience tables.  I can imagine that class-specific experience tables was a bit of a bookkeeping addition, but in retrospect it actually seems like it went a long way towards giving some help to classes that kinda need it (Thieves) and putting off the slow march towards Wizards conquering the world.

So what I'd like to know is... How did Dual Classing break 2e? Were there any particularly disruptive abuses of the system? Did anyone play with any Dual Classing Houserules, and how did they turn out for you?

Similar idea for experience tables, except... I just kinda want to know why they went away in favor of uniform tables.  I guess it wouldn't have made sense to have them since, mathematically, it would likely cause problems a la the 'Experience is a River' concept, but then they went and put in Item Creation feats...

Offline kitep

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 03:04:23 AM »
IIRC, when you dual-classed, you were only about 1 level lower than someone who didn't dual-class.  E.g. you could be cleric-7/wizard-7 when someone else was wizard-8.  Kind of like playing a gestalt instead of non-gestalt.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 04:45:17 PM »
Recent thread on some of this, as a conversion idea :
http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=18764.0

Yeah the geometric part of the goofy exp tables
caused the instead of level 12, I'll be 10/10/10 now.

Old school non c.o. thinking dude does prosey version.
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or his "tips" page --> http://www.rogermwilcox.com/ADnD/Munchkin.html
(most of it wouldn't stand up to hard c.o. which didn't exist back then)
Your codpiece is a mimic.

Offline X-Codes

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 02:18:55 AM »
IIRC, when you dual-classed, you were only about 1 level lower than someone who didn't dual-class.  E.g. you could be cleric-7/wizard-7 when someone else was wizard-8.  Kind of like playing a gestalt instead of non-gestalt.
If we look at this in 3e terms, though, then it seems like half the time you're casting spells 1 level behind what a single-classed character could do.  That by itself is often enough for CO'ers to completely disregard various spontaneous arcane casters in favor of Wizards, so I feel like vanilla cases of this aren't really that bad -- which is why I'm looking for abuse cases, but...

Old school non c.o. thinking dude does prosey version.
Disgusting Characters --> http://www.rogermwilcox.com/ADnD/
or his "tips" page --> http://www.rogermwilcox.com/ADnD/Munchkin.html
(most of it wouldn't stand up to hard c.o. which didn't exist back then)

Yeah, that is... pretty disgusting alright.  I guess it's true that proper CO didn't exist.  I guess I'll put something more concrete together and then bring it out later.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 10:03:13 AM »
Dual Classing was very rarely worth it from an optimization perspective, above and beyond how hard it was to do due to the super high stat requirements in the prime requisite scores of your classes (best case scenario one 15 and one 17 if only choosing out of Fighter, Mage, or Thief since they each require only 1 ability score).

1) You decide that you're going to stop progressing in your old class and progress in your new class.  This means that if you can never gain levels in your old class again.

2) If you use any class abilities from your old class while you have more levels in it than your new class you get completely fucked over for experience.

3) You don't gain any new hitpoints while your old class has more levels than your new class so you have to plan things out from character creation if you don't want to end up with crap hp (IE never go Wizard > Fighter, go Fighter > Wizard).

Edit: Also in 2E the Half-Orc can only cap at an 18 strength like everyone else and they are very much a monstrous race, they're in the same book as playing a bugbear.  Baldur's Gate (like all video games) isn't a faithful interpretation of the rules.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 10:07:40 AM by Nanshork »

Offline Samwise

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 01:23:14 PM »
It is difficult to explain because the effects are not really obvious until you do a hard analysis of the math behind it all.

Simply:
IF you dual class, you spend a bunch of low and medium levels with an absurdly high chance of death stumbling along with your party gaining levels in your first class;
THEN, you SUDDENLY! go back to being 1st level? Most likely with little to no equipment geared to your class? And spend 1-2 mid-levels? Trying to keep up with the rest of the party;
At which point you SUDDENLY!, with proper selection of both classes and rather exceptional treasure acquisition, become a bit better than most other characters.
All for a whole bunch of "Why bother? Just be a freaking elf and multi-class from the start!"

I can break out my books and throw some numbers around if you want.
And ramble on in full grognerd mode about how "In my day, we didn't have any magic mart. We got the lousy magic items in the stinking modules, and we liked it!"
But that is pretty much the TL;DR summary.
I suppose the closest equivalent in D20 is one of "those" super-powerful builds requiring 3 classes and 5 prestige classes that is Tier Pun-Pun when every element of the combo is finished but Tier 20 every level up to that point.

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 08:31:37 PM »
It seems like starting out as a fighter and only taking like 1 or 2 levels then going into wizard or something might be worth it. Otherwise, I agree multiclassing was better.
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Offline X-Codes

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 03:58:37 AM »
I suppose the closest equivalent in D20 is one of "those" super-powerful builds requiring 3 classes and 5 prestige classes that is Tier Pun-Pun when every element of the combo is finished but Tier 20 every level up to that point.
So like some kind of Ultimate Magus/Sublime Chord/Master Spellthief monstrosity that is still casting 5th-level spells at level 13 but has 9th level spells at 19 with a caster level (conservatively) pegged somewhere in the 60's?

It seems like starting out as a fighter and only taking like 1 or 2 levels then going into wizard or something might be worth it. Otherwise, I agree multiclassing was better.
If memory serves, Fighter 3 (ish) is the big reason to Dual-Class instead of Multiclass, and is a good breakpoint for dual-classing because you get an extra half-attack per round or something (and maybe an extra proficiency point?), because Multiclass Fighters can't get Weapon Specialization, but if you Dual-Class out of Fighter into Cleric or something you can combine Weapon Specialization with good self-buffs from the Cleric class, or be a Wizard that has actual hit points and is better at using stabby things in the event of an AMF or something.

Alternatively, I think Thief is considered another good class to dual-class out of because it levels fast, but then stops getting useful abilities.  If someone else can take over the Thief-y things for a while, then changing out of Thief into Magic User is potent.  Or maybe just eat the XP penalties for using your Thief skills because even if you get your Magic User levels slowly, it's still more worthwhile than waiting a bunch of levels to only get another backstab multiplier.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 11:07:56 AM »
Dark Sun also had what were effectively prestige classes that required you to be dual-classed but those were for above level 20 so weren't intended for regular play.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 06:46:55 PM »
I suppose the closest equivalent in D20 is one of "those" super-powerful builds requiring 3 classes and 5 prestige classes that is Tier Pun-Pun when every element of the combo is finished but Tier 20 every level up to that point.
So like some kind of Ultimate Magus/Sublime Chord/Master Spellthief monstrosity that is still casting 5th-level spells at level 13 but has 9th level spells at 19 with a caster level (conservatively) pegged somewhere in the 60's?

I never saw that particular atrocity, but yes, like that.
Except due to the xp charts in AD&D you could usually catch up after 1-2 levels of hiding like a core-only familiar, instead of being a drag on xp and loot for a dozen levels.

Quote
It seems like starting out as a fighter and only taking like 1 or 2 levels then going into wizard or something might be worth it. Otherwise, I agree multiclassing was better.
If memory serves, Fighter 3 (ish) is the big reason to Dual-Class instead of Multiclass, and is a good breakpoint for dual-classing because you get an extra half-attack per round or something (and maybe an extra proficiency point?), because Multiclass Fighters can't get Weapon Specialization, but if you Dual-Class out of Fighter into Cleric or something you can combine Weapon Specialization with good self-buffs from the Cleric class, or be a Wizard that has actual hit points and is better at using stabby things in the event of an AMF or something.

Alternatively, I think Thief is considered another good class to dual-class out of because it levels fast, but then stops getting useful abilities.  If someone else can take over the Thief-y things for a while, then changing out of Thief into Magic User is potent.  Or maybe just eat the XP penalties for using your Thief skills because even if you get your Magic User levels slowly, it's still more worthwhile than waiting a bunch of levels to only get another backstab multiplier.

Yes - 1 OR 2 levels.
You would get 2d10 hp, but then when the rest of the party is working on 3rd level, you suddenly chuck your armor and magic sword and break out your 1 spell slot per day. And, since you decided to multi-class into the highest required xp class, you might need 3 levels of catching up. So when everyone is 5th level pushing to 6th, you now manage to achieve 3rd and your 2nd level spell slot.
After that, over time, the xp given to fighter will fade in relevance and you usually won't lag more than a level behind everyone else. And you've got 6 hp more than an average wizard, plus the ability to whack things with a magic longsword, and even dress in a tin can after you blow through your spells.

Things get wonkier if you go for say 9 levels of fighter to really buff those hp.
Now in a 9th level adventure you are standing there with your AC 10 and magic missile spell while everyone else gives you dirty looks. Fortunately, sort of, because of how much xp everyone else needs you probably catch up by the time they hit 11th level. So now your 10th level wizard/9th level fighter has double or more the hp of a wizard of the same level, a magic sword AND bow AND THAC0 when spells aren't the best, with extra fighter attacks, and spells that are only slightly behind the single class wizard if at all.
IF you can survive a 9th level adventure in your underwear and a single spell slot.
Maybe the party will throw all the scrolls and wands to you or something.
Play an elf.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 07:07:33 PM »
I don't get why you keep talking about elves, everyone that isn't human got to multiclass

Offline Samwise

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 07:33:25 PM »
Because only elves could be wizards.
Yeah, half-elves could be as well, but they sucked compared to elves.

I suppose if you wanted to dual class as an illusionist, with those 17s in Int and Dex as well as a 15 Str you could replace that with "Just play a gnome". Of course then you are a gnome.

As for dwarves and halfling and half-orcs you get your choice of fighter-thief, thief-fighter, or fighter-totally sucky thief (aka, "assassin").

Yes, if had the Unearthed Arcana Errata from Dragon 103 you got some ranger, cleric, and druid multi-classing opened up as well, but that was generally only useful for dwarves and gnomes, and even then only became really attractive when the 2nd ed splatbooks began proliferating.

But mostly it is because if I said "Be a demi-human" everyone would ask what that is. :P

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 08:51:00 PM »
Fair enough, although X-Codes only mentioned wizards after multiple other people did.  Also you're forgetting about Cleric multiclass options.

Good point about "Be a demi-human" though.   :lol

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 09:46:33 PM »
Alternatively, I think Thief is considered another good class to dual-class out of because it levels fast, but then stops getting useful abilities.  If someone else can take over the Thief-y things for a while, then changing out of Thief into Magic User is potent.  Or maybe just eat the XP penalties for using your Thief skills because even if you get your Magic User levels slowly, it's still more worthwhile than waiting a bunch of levels to only get another backstab multiplier.
Or just be a bard, Nale.  :P
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Offline Garryl

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Re: Second Edition Leveling and Dual-Classing -- How did it break?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2019, 01:27:33 AM »
Typically, dual classing is great when you go from a high HD class with great early level capabilities (Fighter, Ranger, even Cleric to a lesser extent) into a low HD class that sucks early on but has better high level scaling (Mage, Cleric, and to a lesser extent Thief, but only relative to pure Fighter). As long as you dual class out before XP/level scaling switches to linear, you are missing out on at most 1 level compared to a single-class character. Heck, the XP cost of going up to the end of HDs for most classes means you wouldn't even be a full level behind if you dual class into Mage.

Fighter 9->Mage gets about 50% more HP than a single-classed Mage (with 16 Con, more with higher Con), at the cost of just over 3/4 of a level (250k/325k, not even a full level). Sword swinging action, elven chain, better PPD and Breath saves, and expanded magic item options are just a bonus. Fighter 3->Mage costs a negligible 4k XP (just over 1.2% of a level beyond 11th) for 9 additional HP (about a 20% boost over straight Mage, about the same as multiclassing) and those same sword, armor, and magic item options, while also helping you through a significant part of those painful first levels as a Mage (you still won't contribute, but at least you won't die to a stiff breeze) and letting you feel the Fighters power at the levels the class is strongest. Fighter 7->Mage optimizes the dual classing time for that extra 1/2 attack and the sweet spot where Mage levels up really fast for a couple of levels, IIRC, so you get your Fighter kit back faster.

Fighter 7->Thief gives you no small chunk of HP (about 25% more), costs only about 1/2 of a Thief level, lets you use actual armor when you don't need Thief skills, and lets you do crazy damage with weapon specialization and extra attacks if you can get a backstab situation off. Thief saves kinda suck, IIRC, so you're getting a nice boost there for a while. Also, Thief levels up quickly, so you don't spend much time without your Fighter kit.

Fighter 7->Cleric gives you a bit of HP, but mostly lets you become a combat machine with extra attacks multiplying those Cleric self-buff spells that I'm pretty sure existed outside of Baldur's Gate and the rest of the infinity engine games. XP cost is, again, about 1/2 a Cleric level once you're into linear scaling. IIRC, it also hits just before Cleric leveling hits a speed bump for a bit, so you get your Fighter kit back soonish.

Thief->Mage is a toolbox thing. You get thief skills, a bit more HP, and a slightly better low-level experience (bows are OP), and the XP cost is really tiny in the long run. Thief levels up fast, though, while Mage levels up slowly, so you do spend a relatively large amount of time as an underlevel single-class character.

Multi-classing is a trap. It's decent enough at level 1 (when you get something for nothing) and at levels 4-9 (when you get decent versatility at the cost of not too much power). At high levels it sucks, as you're advancing at half rate in whichever one spellcasting class you really want to scale up, you have less HP than a dual classer would have, and if you're using level limits for non-humans, you're going to hit them because you can't be human.