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I know that in terms of actually running a campaign that they can go side by side very well, with one side doing some things honestly better than the other like the monster vault...However, a person in my group is wishing to hybrid character builds for essentials into a core class, specifically Hybrid Blackguard (Dragon Magazine 400) and Fey Pact Warlock. Before anyone says it, I am aware the danger of including Dragon Magazines in my campaigns but I have managed it in the past, however the question I have mainly is CAN you hybrid an essential with a core class in the first place as they seem to be two seperate sets in some cases and if there is no major rule stating you can or can't if I allowed it could their be major ramifications?

I am most likely going to allow this character regardless sine the player I know very well isn't a min/maxer or a slayer and more of a character idea guy so I trust him not to go to out of control with it, but I would still like to know for the future.

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2 Answers 2

They integrate as well as any other hybrid1. There are no rules forbidding the combination, and the fact of published hybrids of essentials and dragon-only class hybrids (both for the original and essentials executioner assassin) existing suggests this same conclusion.

The literature supports this conclusion, with the hybrid handbook making no distinction between "essentials/nonessentials" save for the actual hybrid options themselves.

Fey pact warlock and executioner is actually a published build called the Eladrin Eldritch Executioner which provides:

  • Play a melee character who emphazises wits over brawn
  • Be stealthy and have at-will invisibility/hiding from early paragon onwards
  • Be a capable addition to the party for skill challenges of a social, information gathering, or infiltration variety.
  • Have very solid single target DPR at all teirs of play (reaching about 150 at-will DPR, by 30).
  • Get to make a lot of OAs by using stealth offensively (at least 1 most rounds, unless fighting solos) and be a Warlord's best friend.

Nothing here looks particularly objectionable, as the hybrid seems to be a way of gaming stealth, rather than flopping over more than one role.


1 Mostly really horribly and worth ignoring, but with a few decent combinations.

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"fact of published hybrids of essentials and dragon-only class(s)" Not really sure what that means. –  Wesley Obenshain Jul 14 at 8:49
    
I've edited it, maybe this is clear + what Brian means –  doppelgreener Jul 18 at 7:49
    
You say this Eladrin Eldritch Executioner is published, then have a link to a forum post. Does this qualify as published now? The hybrid handbook also appears to be a simple forum post. –  DCShannon Jul 19 at 2:57

If you're fine with house-ruling things, then you can do anything, so yeah you can do this.

Just using the character creation options presented in the books, no you can't do this.

I only have access to the hybrid rules in Player's Handbook 3, and as far as I'm aware there are no other generalized hybrid rules available.

Hybrid Classes are Different Classes

If you look at the Hybrid Characters section in Player's Handbook 3, you'll see that you're not combining the actual classes from the other books. You're combining the hybrid classes presented in this section.

This is most evidenced by the Class Traits blocks for each hybrid class, which do not match the Class Traits blocks for the normal classes. They have different class features, which have been balanced specifically for each class, rather than derived from the base classes in a mechanistic or algorithmic way.

What this means is there doesn't need to be a rule stating whether you can make hybrid characters with Essentials classes and Player's Handbook classes or not. You can't make hybrid characters with Player's Handbook classes and other Player's Handbook classes. You make hybrid characters with hybrid classes, so in order to make a hybrid character using an Essentials class, there would need to be a corresponding hybrid class.

Brian Ballsun-Stanton has pointed out that some additional hybrid classes have been introduced in Dragon Magazine, including ones corresponding to some Essentials classes in DM 400 and 402. Specifically the Druid (Sentinel), Warlock (Binder), Paladin (Cavalier), Paladin (Blackguard), and Assassin (Executioner).

Lucky for you, the class you want to use, Blackguard, is included in this list. If you wanted to use another class, like maybe Fighter (Slayer), then you would have to houserule it.

Hybrid Classes Make Assumptions

The rules for hybrid classes make a lot of assumptions based on the rigid way in which the classes in the Player's Handbooks are defined. These assumptions are not necessarily true for Essentials classes, but are fundamental to balancing the hybrid characters.

For instance, every Player's Handbook class gets an Encounter power at level 3, except for classes with psionic augmentation, and there's a large, complicated section on how to handle the psionic classes. It's this assumption about getting encounter, daily, and utility powers at an equal rate from each of the two classes that is used to balance how much you can take from each class, and also to ensure that a minimal level of functionality is taken from each class. A blackguard gets an extra use of Dread Smite at level 3, not a new encounter power. How would the hybrid rules handle this?

Houserule It

All that being said, hybrid characters aren't super well balanced anyway, so whatever.

You'll have to look over the existing hybrid characters to get a feel for the kind of balance decisions involved, then apply those ethics to the classes your player wants to hybridize. This will be easier the closer in structure the class you're dealing with is to the Player's Handbook classes. It should also help to look at the hybrid versions of the Essentials classes introduced in Dragon Magazine, if you have access to that.

Keep in mind the basic idea that you should have access to options from both classes, but not be able to stack constant benefits from both classes at the same time for the same thing. For example, a hybrid rogue/ranger can only use Hunter's Quarry damage dice with Ranger powers, and can only use Sneak Attack damage dice with Rogue powers, so he can't apply both Sneak Attack and Hunter's Quarry damage to the same attack.

Also keep in mind the general idea that, at each level, you can choose which class to get a benefit from. This may not be as clean with the Essentials classes, but you can still do it if you're careful.

Although there is apparently a hybrid Blackguard out there to use, I'll still use the Blackguard as an example of the types of problems you might run into when attempting to adapt another class.

For example, your hybrid blackguard at level 3 could choose to get either an additional use of Dread Smite (essentially a new encounter power that just so happens to be identical to an already known encounter power) or a level 3 Warlock encounter power. However, the hybrid rules require to to pick an encounter from one class at level 1, and an encounter from the other class at level 3. If you picked Dread Smite at level 1, then you have to get an encounter from Warlock at 3. If you picked an encounter from Warlock at 1, then you would get an additional use of... wait a minute I don't know Dread Smite how do I get an additional use of it? This particular mismatch is simple to resolve, just learn Dread Smite for the first time at level 3, but others might require more thinking.

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See Dragon Magazine 402 for the hybrid druid (sentinel) and hybrid warlock (binder) and hybrid paladin (cavalier) and hybrid paladin (blackguard) And dragon 400 for the hybrid assassin (executioner) and dragon 385 for the hybrid assassin –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jul 18 at 3:29
    
@BrianBallsun-Stanton That comment is more useful than your actual answer. Seems like you should include these references. I know I'm going to. –  DCShannon Jul 19 at 2:59

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