Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Multiclassing: A Personal History

I was reading through the multiclassing rules of Castles & Crusades -- primarily trying to figure out how to create the classic "Elven Fighter / Wizard" of Mystara -- when I was struck by my own history with multi-classing.

As I've mentioned before, when I was growing up in the Philippines I tried to run games (usually with the B/X ruleset), but hardly got to play. I did have access to the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual and remember building a character that was a Half-Elven Fighter/Thief.

Years later, after the gaming group I'd fallen into at the San Mateo Beresford Recreational Center shifted from Traveller to AD&D, I recreated that character for the campaign.

My reasons weren't clear to me, as I had only really been playing RPGs for a short time and hadn't had many hours of gaming experience under my belt. I'd hazard that I was interested in playing a particular character type -- the fighters came across to me as face-to-face skirmishers, and I wanted my fighter to be sly and sneaky. The thieving skills were more a bonus to the idea of playing a dextrous fighter.

Yes, there was a draw towards playing the Fighter/Magic-user/Thief but aside from the painfully slow advancement -- it didn't fit my (and I use the word that I learned later when I fell into a Champions-playing group) character concept.

I wanted a character more Grey Mouser than Conan (who I would later learn WAS a fighter/thief, despite the Barbarian epithet)!

When I joined the Champions crowd, and there was an occasional Fantasy Hero game, I reveled in the freedom of creating exactly the character I'd envisioned -- sort of the ultimate multiclassing goal for me, though classes were out the window in this point-based system.
I remember thinking: "Wow, a
complete RPG in one book! Neat!"

But then when I wanted to run a fantasy game myself, I found myself again drawn to the D&D ruleset in the form of the D&D Cyclopedia, and sending my players around the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. I also found that my own tastes had changed -- I wanted to try out unusual character classes and avoided multiclassing altogether.

When 3rd edition came 'round, I remember an article in Dragon magazine describing how multi-classing could make new 'character classes': Fighter/Clerics were touted as defenders of the faith, while Ranger/Druids were defenders of nature, and other unusual combinations. Interesting from a tinkerer's perspective, but my preference for purer character classes remained.
And now? Now I'm thinking of doing the very same thing in the Castles & Crusades ruleset. Just a way to mess around with the system, learn a bit of it, and maybe finally define some unusual classes that came up in Mystara like the Rake and the Forester character classes. And those darned Halflings.

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