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I was recently watching some Youtube gaming videos and came across this one in which the narrator created a character he said was book legal: a 14th level character who had at least one level in each basic class. The player in the video was allowed to make the character as a 14th level character, even though there are 12 classes.

Question: Is there any reason this can't be done in 12 levels instead of 14?

Assume either point buy or basic array for ability scores, only published races and the base PHB classes allowable. Character must meet all requirements for multiclassing.

Extra love given to an answer that explains the general advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In terms of advantages/disadvantages, existing questions like "What are the downsides to multi-classing?" may already address that topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Jul 17 '18 at 5:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Remember that ASIs come from class levels, so this character would get none. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jul 17 '18 at 8:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ And they say nobody doesn't like negative questions! (While some folks may have to curate their answers, Can this be done in 12 levels? allows answers to be clearer.) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '18 at 8:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ For people who are wondering why the video was a character with a 14th level character: This has nothing to do with the amount of classes. It's a oneshot and they were allowed to start with a 14th level character. This gave the player the idea of making a character with every class, because level 14 is enough to fit in every class. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jul 17 '18 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is Abserd. \$\endgroup\$ May 17 at 3:51
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You can be a multiclassed character with all classes at level 12, but only with point buy

TL;DR

Point buy can leave you at 13 in all stats, except CON, regardless of race.

Overview

Let's first make an overview of the stats needed for multiclassing:

Class Ability - Score Minimum

  • Barbarian - Strength 13
  • Bard - Charisma 13
  • Cleric - Wisdom 13
  • Druid - Wisdom 13
  • Fighter - Strength 13 or Dexterity 13
  • Monk - Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
  • Paladin - Strength 13 and Charisma 13
  • Ranger - Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
  • Rogue - Dexterity 13
  • Sorcerer - Charisma 13
  • Warlock - Charisma 13
  • Wizard - Intelligence 13

To summarize the stats on 13 needed:

  • 3x STR
  • 3x DEX
  • 0x CON
  • 1x INT
  • 4x WIS
  • 4x CHA

So we see that CON is not used, we can keep that low (which also means low HP)

Let's also take in account that there are restrictions on the first class you pick, according the PHB page 163 (Thank you Theik):

Prerequisites

To qualify for a new class, you must meet the ability score prerequisites for both your current class and your new one, as shown in the Multiclassing Prerequisites table.

Races

Races give a way to compensate or raise the stats if needed.

  • Dwarf - CON+2

    • Hill Dwarf - WIS+1
    • Mountain Dwarf - STR+2
  • Elf - DEX+2

    • High Elf - INT+1
    • Wood Elf - WIS+1
  • Halfling - DEX+2

    • Lightfoot Halfling - CHA+1
    • Stout Halfling - CON+1
  • Human - All stats +1

  • Dragonborn - STR+2, CHA+1

  • Gnome - INT+2

    • Forest Gnome - DEX+1
    • Rock Gnome - CON+1
  • Half-Elf - CHA+2, 2 other stats +1

  • Half-Orc - STR+2, CON+1

  • Tiefling - INT+1, CHA+2

Standard array

With standard array, we start with the following possible stats: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8

Since there is no race in the PHB with a +3 to make the 10 a 13, this means we cannot get all stats to 13.

For standard array it is not possible to create a level 12 character with all classes.

Point Buy

With point buy, you can easily get all stats on 12, bump 1 stat to 14 or 3 stats to 13, and then pick Human for a +1 in all stats.

Or you can go 13 in all stats, but 10 in CON (or 8 and spend the leftover points elsewhere), and pick a race you want.

Advantages

All-round character: good at everything

All the 1st-level bonusses of the classes (except all proficiencies, see PHB 164 for specifics)

All weapons and armor proficiencies (except Heavy armor, you'll only get this if you start with Fighter or Paladin, or pick certain Cleric domains)

A few more skill proficiencies: single proficiency from the bard, rogue and ranger classes (thank you Theik)

Access to higher level spell-slots

Lots of utility and flexability

Lots of Roleplaying opportunities

Disadvantages

The disadvantage is that you're an all-round character: you're good (not great) at everything, but you don't excell at anything.

You have lots of utility that can be used in Roleplaying, but in combat you can only pick a limited amount of actions per turn.

Proficiencies gained can be redundant since you already have it from a different class.

Since the levels are spent on new classes, no ability score enhancement of feats can be taken. Futhermore, you only get the 1st level skills and bonus of each class: this does not scale very well at higher levels.

No access to higher levels spells due to low class levels.

No access to extra attack.

No access for the sub-class of most classes (mostly requires 3 levels in the class)

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    \$\begingroup\$ D&D heavily rewards specialization, and heavily punishes generalizing. Your claim that you would be “good at everything” or “have lots of utility and flexibility” is simply inaccurate. You’d be poor-to-mediocre at everything, and have lots of low-level features irrelevant to a high-level adventure. This reads strongly as a theoretical, on-paper read of what the advantages “should be,” as opposed to actually trying it in practice. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 17 '18 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan D&D can heavily reward and punish players, but that is up to the DM. My claim (opinion) is not inaccurate, because you have all the classes, you also have a lot of options (1st level class skills and utilities). You'd be good (not great, not excellent) at everything because you have those stats (13 on almost every stat) and skills. Players can create creative solutions to problems, remember: D&D is not only about combat. But it is indeed bad for high level, but I also listed that in the disadvantages. \$\endgroup\$
    – Inferno IV
    Jul 17 '18 at 14:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @InfernoIV Is that a tested claim you have played, or is that just your assumption based on your belief that the game is sufficiently balanced that there is no such thing as a “bad choice” that just simply leaves you worse-off than you would have been not making it? Because my contention is that this is very much that, a character with a dozen 1st-level classes is strictly inferior to a character with more focus. This is backed up with some experience but only some—but if the comparison is your wishful thinking, I’d stick with the minimal experience I have over that. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 17 '18 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan it is not a claim, it is my opinion. There are defenitely bad choices in D&D. And as I ended my previous comment: yes, I do think focussed charcter is better than a level 12 character with only level 1 classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Inferno IV
    Jul 17 '18 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @InfernoIV proficiency bonus is based on character level, not class level. Since all classes gain proficiency bonus at the same rate, the character's bonus is the same, not matter what level the classes are in \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '18 at 17:45
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You can do it, but the character would be nearly useless

You miss out on all high-level features, all ASIs, and as Derek Strucki’s answer points out, to meet all the other ability score requirements you are forced to have a near-suicidally-low Constitution score. Your other ability scores are all too low to reliably use your myriad class features, since the game’s math expects higher numbers than 13 in your most important ability scores.

So if the question is a theoretical exercise for amuse, then yes, absolutely, you can do this. But please don’t think it’s a good idea for a real game—you have a high chance of finding the experience frustrating and so do your fellow players, who may feel like they are dragging around dead weight when it comes to this character. The problems are severe enough that I don’t just recommend you keep your eyes open with respect to the problems, but also strongly recommend that you discuss the problems with your DM and fellow players and make sure they’re on board with what is effectively a joke character in the campaign. In many games, this character would be problematic simply because it becomes hard to justify, in-character, the character’s continued presence in the party.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see why CON has to be suicidally-low? Point buy will get you three 13s and three 12s, and standard human brings that to three 14s and three 13s, if I'm reading it right. Or any race with a +2 and a +1 allows you to point-buy 13,13,13,13,12,11 and end up with all 13s. I mean, I'm not arguing that taking one level of everything is pretty revolting, I just don't see why CON has to be low. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Aug 20 '19 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 The answer I linked to indicates that you could get 13s in everything except Constitution, which would be 8, and have 2 points remaining, with which you could bring Con to 10. Which is, yes, near-suicidally low. A 14 is roughly a minimum for my comfort. I have not double-checked that answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 20 '19 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ The weird thing is, in that answer Derek's contemplating a hypothetical class that has no ASIs. In reality, it's trivial with any published race (except maybe Kobold or Goblin, I'd have to double-check) to get all scores to 13 including con. I mean, don't get me wrong: one-of-every-class still stinks. But it doesn't require a negative (or even zero) CON mod and could easily have your desired +2. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Aug 20 '19 at 20:50
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This is theoretically not possible for any race that gives a net total of less than -1 to abilities other than constitution. No such race exists to date, so it is always possible.

The only requirement for multiclassing (if allowed) is a 13 in the appropriate ability scores. No class currently requires a 13 in constitution.

As ability score increases are a class feature, such a character would not have any. Thus, they must begin at level 1 with a 13 in all abilities except constitution. This is possible with a point buy array of 13, 13, 8, 13, 13, 13 with 2 points left over to make up for a -1 penalty (which is more than we currently need).

No other restrictions exist, assuming that the DM of the game allows multiclassing at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While technically correct, I feel like this answer gives the wrong impression by starting with "no" instead of "yes". \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Jul 17 '18 at 5:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question was why can't this be done. My answer is why this can't be done. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '18 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @miniman, that would cost 30 points. Only 27 are allowed. 3 13s and 3 12s is 27 points. It's given as an example in the section on point buy ability scores. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '18 at 5:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great point. I hadn't thought of that. I'll edit. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '18 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ The logic here is confusing. It's not possible for a race with a certain property, but there is no such race, so it's always possible for every race? And then if there were such a race, it's also possible? \$\endgroup\$
    – aschepler
    Jul 17 '18 at 10:10
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Your best bet, if you want to do this, and make character with some effectiveness, is normal human. Buy 10 Con and 13 everything else, then human gets you 11 Con, and 14 everything else, which is a +2 bonus on all your myriad abilities.

I would probably start as a barbarian, for max hp, survivability, and Con saves. The other best option is Rogue, for 4 skills.

There are now 13 classes, with artificer, so there's 13 of your levels. Almost all classes get important benefits at 2nd level, so I'd do those next. Barbarian 2 for reckless attack and danger sense. Bard 2 for jack-of-all-trades. Cleric 2 for channel divinity. Druid 2 for wild shape. Fighter 2 for action surge. Monk 2 for ki and movement. Paladin and/or ranger 2 for fighting style and spells. Rogue 2 for cunning action. Warlock 2 for invocations, and 2 pact spell slots. Wizard 2 for spell school. Artificer 2 for infusions. The only class that doesn't get something really good at 2nd level is Sorcerer.

OOPS, you're at 25 levels now! So scale it back, and pick your 7 favorites of those 12.

Net: HP 115 (or 111 if started as rogue) at 20th -- not great, but not terribly fragile.

Skills -- 7 (barb start) or 8 (rogue start) -- 2 with expertise

Spells known -- at least 8 1st-level spells Spells to prepare -- at least 11 1st-level spells Spell slots -- as a 7th level caster (4, 3, 3, 1), plus the pact slot All of these can be raised some, depending on what classes you choose for your 2nd levels.

Here's one everyone seems to be overlooking: you will have 18 cantrips, and those scale with overall level, so you'll be King of All That.

I'd probably take life domain for the cleric, for heavy armor option, and good healing (esp. combined with the druid's goodberries). Wild magic sorcerer, for tides of chaos. Warlock patron either Old One for the telepathy, or maybe hexblade.

I'd probably take my 2nd levels in barbarian, druid (moon), fighter, rogue, warlock, wizard (divination), and artificer. Between those, with wildshape, action surge, cunning action, invocations and infusions, and portent dice, you'll have lots of options to be useful in any situation.

Rage, wildshape, and telepathy combine well.

Spells known -- 11 1st-level spells Spells to prepare -- 14 1st-level spells Spell slots -- as a 9th level caster (4, 3, 3, 3, 1), plus the 2 pact slots

You won't dominate any situation, but you'll always be a contributor, and I bet could be surprisingly effective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure this really answers the question or maybe only tangentially answers it. The question is about whether multiclassing into all classes is possible (by 12th level), not how to built an optimal every-class character. This certainly doesn't seem to be a bad answer, I'm just not sure that an optimisation answer really answers the question asked. \$\endgroup\$ May 17 at 0:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Inherent in the answer is that this is possible. I suppose I could add that no, it isn't possible in 12 levels anymore, since there are now 13 classes. But I did include info about the 13 classes, so again, that's there. \$\endgroup\$
    – PhilB
    May 17 at 2:50

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