I like the flavor, flexibility, and role-playing inspirations provided by Themes, as introduced in D&D 4E Darksun and added in general in Dragon #399. I'm planning to use them in the game I'm starting. The problem is that there just aren't enough. A little over a dozen character concepts are covered — if I require that players choose a theme, that's quite restrictive. And if I make it optional and some people take it, the themes give enough extra power and flexibility that it's kind of a punishment to characters for whom a theme does not fit.
There are another three dozen themes from Darksun and Neverwinter and other miscellaneous articles, but most of them are very setting-specific and would require at least some degree of adaptation.
So, would offering a number of free multiclassing feats be a fair and balanced alternative option I could give to players who don't feel like any of the themes are a match?
Themes generally offer:
- A basic feature like shapeshifting or cost-free-alchemy
- Feature upgrades at levels 5 and 10
- Alternative utility powers
Would it be roughly equivalent to offer a bonus multiclass feat at first level and additional multiclass feats at levels 5 and 10 (must meet prereqs/follow restrictions), plus the 8th-level Acolyte Power feat (which lets you swap a utility power for one from your multiclass class)?
This wouldn't automatically give the flavor of themes, of course, but would provide an alternative framework without having to create a whole new theme from scratch.
Is the basic idea here sound? Is the proposal too much or too little? (And if so, what can I remove or add?) Are there any unforeseen consequences?