A player of mine plays a dex barbarian and multiclassed into fighter for a fighting style. His strength score is 8 and he is using fitness weapons based on Dex for attacking. I didn't understand at that time that he can't do that without a strength score of 13 (which he doesn't have). I am leaning to houserule the multiclassing requirements for barbarian to be as the fighter, 13 strength or dex. Are there any problems as they level up that I should be aware of?

Why do I want to allow it? As I understand them, the multiclassing requirements are designed to avoid players to take another class for the features without having any of the stats that normally enable a character to have these features. Someone that is not intelligent can't suddenly become a wizard. Very logical.

However for the dex barbarian, it is not like he does not have the stats for his class. He has a 16 dex, that is above average and the main stat of a dex barbarian. So I do not see a reason why he can't multiclass.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why exactly did he make a dexterity based barbarian? Two of the main class features for a barbarian, are reckless attack and the rage damage bonus. Both only work when making strength based melee attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Aug 26 '19 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Allan we are aware of that. He wants to recreate kirito from swo, and that one is not a strong person. But he decided Barbarian is the most fitting class. \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Aug 26 '19 at 23:10

The multiclass prerequisites, in my opinion, are best treated as suggestions rather than requirements. They do not serve any balance function—they serve primarily to help prevent players from falling into the trap of taking a class that their ability scores will not support. The reciprocal nature of the requirements, in my opinion, have more to do with making things symmetric and minimizing the degree to which the order you take classes matters than it does to do with anything concerned with balance.

As such, I have never stopped a player who knew what they were doing from doing any multiclassing they liked. This has caused zero problems, and I see no way that it could. The worst case scenario, as far as I can tell, is Paladin/Warlock using the Hexblade patron, which can now be done without needing Strength 13, which is quite desirable for this combination since Strength does little for them thanks to Hex Warrior. However, Hexblade is widely considered to be an anomaly in its own right, which means it would be quite sad indeed to limit everyone else for the sake of this one case. For me, even this combination has not caused any real problems. There is certainly nothing about a Dexterity-based Barbarian/Fighter that is going to cause more problems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if you're wrong, but can you support "They do not serve any balance function—they serve primarily to help prevent players from falling into the trap of taking a class that their ability scores will not support". \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 26 '19 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch That is precisely my aim in analyzing and discussing my experiences with the (in-my-opinion-but-really-is-anyone-going-to-disagree?) worst case scenario of Hexblade/Paladin. If even that case is really just fine—and, in my experience and analysis, it is, it’s very strong but it’s not break-the-game strong (single-classed Moon Druid is still better, for example)—then even if it was imagined that the prerequisites would aid balance, they do not. I was not intending to make a claim about designers’ intent here, but rather about what balancing or lack thereof has actually been achieved \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 26 '19 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron It benefits a fair amount, but not to the extent that it imbalances anything (that wasn’t already imbalanced). And Hexblade did not exist when the rule was published—which suggests that it’s unlikely they wrote it with that particular combination in mind. No other combination comes even remotely close to gaining as much benefit from ignoring those prerequisites. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 26 '19 at 20:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not even sure a Paladin / Warlock does benefit that much since they would probably like plate armour which needs 15 str (to not get a penalty anyway). But I completely agree with the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Aug 27 '19 at 7:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan, I wouldn't call Paladin/Warlock "worst case scenario" as there is at least some synergy with the classes; both benefit from a high CHA. Worst case would be a Barbarian/Warlock, or a Sorcerer/Cleric... Classes that have no overlap of ability score focus. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 28 '19 at 5:09

There are edge cases where not enforcing multiclass requirements can lead to trouble

A lot of this depends on using either the standard array or point-buy system for determining ability scores. If using just die rolls, then it's possible to have a character with all 18s and multiclassing requirements are moot.

The first example that comes to mind is a Barbarian that wants a level of Hexblade. I know this because I recently tried theory-crafting one. Why make this combo? Because a 1st-level Hexblade can use a Hexblade's Curse with a really great power:

Any attack roll you make against the cursed target is a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 on the d20.

That same power doesn't occur until third level of a Fighter taking the Champion sub-class. So the Barbarian qualifies to multiclass into a Fighter as both require a Strength of 13, but it would take three levels to get that feature. But if we ignore multiclass requirements, then it only takes one. It also means that the Barbarian is not spending points to get the Charisma to 13 and can focus on Str, Dex, and Con. But to get that 13 in Charisma, they would have to sacrifice a large amount of points from their core stats.

There are likely other situations similar to this where ignoring requirements can cause some unforeseen over powering. So while I doubt it's game-breaking, it can become a slippery slope.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is only really an issue if you're using point buy and are really strict about stat balance (like in AL for instance). In other types of games having some random off stat be at 13 is hardly a great barrier. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Aug 27 '19 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you are saying if I just allow multiclassing for barbarian with 13 strength or dex, there should be no problem? \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Aug 27 '19 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cubic, which is why I included that first line. It really makes a difference if there are sacrifices that need to be made to reach the minimum requirements. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 27 '19 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @findusl, if that is the only exception you are making, and everything is on a case-by-case basis, then there is little consequence to the change. But if you're going to universally say, "no ability requirements" then I say you're asking for trouble. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Aug 27 '19 at 22:35

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