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Below is the rule for determining Initiator Level for multiclass characters from Tome of Battle.

Multiclass Characters

If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes. Look up the result on the table below to determine the highest-level maneuvers you can take. You still have to meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it.

The bolded section is what is confusing to me.

It is clear how the rules work for class levels you have before gaining the martial adept class. A Fighter 4/Crusader 1 has an initiator level of 3. But what happens when this character gains 2 more levels, and decides to go with rogue levels, making them Fighter 4/Crusader 1/Rogue 2. Does their Initiator level go up, or stay the same?

Note: FHT4/CRU1/ROG2 this is far from an ideal build, it is mostly used as a hypothetical.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume the hangup it this line: "and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class". Does your Initiator Level immediately go up by 1 when you take the 2nd level of Rouge, or is it unchanged then, but goes up by 2 if you take another level of Crusader? \$\endgroup\$ – divibisan Mar 27 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is indeed the troublesome line... It feels like the authors are taking a stab at a specific over general rule. But it rubs against me for some reason as being too restrictive to be the original intent. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Clarke Mar 27 at 21:16
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While it's pretty clear that all your different non-martial adept classes count for your Initiator Level, regardless of the order, this line:

If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level

does make it seem, rules-as-written, as if your Initiator Level is only checked and updated when you take a new level in a martial adept class, I think other parts of this section make it clear that this is not the intention:

INITIATOR LEVEL: Some maneuvers and stances have variable effects (such as duration) that depend on initiator level ... If you lack any martial adept levels, your initiator level is equal to 1/2 your character level. - p.39 Tome of Battle

This section makes it clear that you have an initiator level, even if you lack any martial adept levels. This suggests that there is nothing special about taking a martial adept level that updates your Initiator Level.

MULTICLASS CHARACTERS: Even when you gain levels in a class that does not grant martial maneuvers, your understanding of the martial disciplines still increases ...

If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes ...

This process applies to all of a character’s levels, whether they are in martial adept classes or other classes. - p.39 Tome of Battle

Broader context in the multi-class characters section suggest that the awkward wording of the quoted sentence is not meant to put any directionality on gaining Initiator Levels. Right after describing the process of calculating Initiator Level when multiclassing, they state that "this process applies to all of a character’s levels, whether they are in martial adept classes or other classes", which, I think, is a clear argument that we should update Initiator Level each time you level, not just if the level is in a martial adept class.

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