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We are going to begin a new PF group at level 9, and are trying some additional content.

One we are interested in using is the Variant Multiclassing rules.

The sorcerer options are basically just the bloodline powers.

Does (or should) a multiclass sorcerer under those rules gain the bloodline arcana?

One reasoning to allow this would be because one could just buy eldritch heritage feats to gain the bloodline powers, if its just that.

I am the DM, and while I have my own thoughts on the matter, would like to see what those better learned in the rules would say.

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As written, at 1st level, the VMC’d (as variant multiclassing is generally known) sorcerer gets to... select a sorcerer bloodline. That’s it, they get to pick one. They get absolutely nothing from it at all, it’s just a pointless choice they get to make that will have ramifications later (when they get bloodline powers). Maybe they qualify as having the bloodline for the purposes of prerequisites, but even that is iffy based on how its written and what Paizo has said about it.

To be perfectly honest, I started to write that, then questioned it, read it again, started to delete it, read it again, wrote it back out, then finally gave up and searched to see if I could find anything on the subject, because it’s really poorly written and extremely unclear about what you do or don’t get. This post by Mark Seifter, a Paizo developer, says you don’t get anything that it doesn’t explicitly say you get, and explicitly says that the bloodline arcana is not a thing you get.

You get exactly what it says you get, and not anything else by RAW and RAI. It doesn't say you get bloodline arcana, so you don't get it.

I really don’t like using a random forum post, even from a developer, as a source, but it’s all I’ve got. Mark’s contention that this is “RAW,” as if the rules as written clearly spell this out, is not one I find convincing. Personally, I think the rules as written are horribly vague and I could easily make an argument that the wording of the initial Bloodline entry there actually gives you everything about the sorcerer bloodline, and when the sorcerer gets them rather than delayed as the individual bloodline power entries below it indicate. But the best thing we have here is Mark’s say-so, so that’s what I am going with for this answer.

And ultimately, it does not matter what it does or doesn’t get you, because every single one of the variant multiclassing options is a bad idea 100% of the time. The idea of trading away half your feats for some benefit from another class without having to actually multiclass is sound; I’d even call that pretty good. But the actual benefits of VMCing classes are not worth—not even remotely worth—five feats. Five feats is an incredible amount of investment in anything in this game. It’s literally half your feats, unless you have bonus feats. It is huge. And you could do a lot with those feats.

Some of the VMC options are maybe worth a couple feats. Some aren’t even really that. None of them comes even close to being worth five feats.

So please, I implore you, just... forget they tried this idea. It didn’t work out. It will be bad for your game. Characters that choose not to use it will be better off than characters who do, every single time. There are lots of ways in which multiclassing can cripple a Pathfinder character, but done carefully it can be good. The same cannot be said of variant multiclassing. And as this very question shows, even ignoring the serious balance problems, the rules themselves are just a mess and not well-written.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the Wizard and Monk also "give" features that are irrelevant on their own, while the Druid gives Druidic as a language and a set of restrictions with no benefits. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Dec 8 '17 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ You know, KRyan, I really love your honesty. No punches pulled, just what we need. Now to convince the guys on giving up that, or homebrewing it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Dec 8 '17 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your use of 100% is incorrect. A Fighter taking VMC Barbarian can be a good idea. So 99%. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 8 '17 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso As nice as rage is, and as much as fighters can struggle to find enough feats worth using, I still refuse to evaluate VMC barbarian at five feats. Two or three, sure, but not five. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 8 '17 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ But can you get +3 hit and (+5 two handed) damage, 3 HP per HD, and +3 to Will Saves at the cost of -2 AC with a 20 feat build that you couldn't get with a 15 feat build? I'm not saying every Fighter would be better with it, but those bonuses aren't even counting the Rage Power, DR, and Uncanny Dodge. Hence, not 100%. Just saying... \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 11 '17 at 6:26

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