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I'm in the process of creating a cleric character and I've been exploring the various variants available, including Ancestral Speaker, Arcane Disciple, Aspirant, Benevolent, Champion, Cloistered Cleric, Crusader, Evangelist, and Rage Cleric.

Can I start with 1 level in the "Cloistered Cleric" variant and then later choose the "Evangelist" variant? Would this result in losing a caster level?

Given that "Evangelist" is a spontaneous caster, what happens if I also select "Cloistered Cleric" as a "Spontaneous Divine Caster"?

I'm particularly interested in the concept of gaining access to the sorcerer/wizard spell list through "Evangelist" and a lot of domains.

I'm open to any advice or suggestions!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited your title because all caps is often perceived as 'yelling', and it wasn't very descriptive (potentially making it hard for some to know if they have expertise relevant to what you're asking). Please feel free to re-edit it if you don't think its a good representation of your question \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Aug 8, 2023 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth breaking this into 2 or 3 seperate questions. They may be related to the problem you're trying to solve, so perhaps some more detail and focus could also help us answer your question. From review. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Aug 8, 2023 at 17:23

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So the rules on variant classes are fairly minimal. They were introduced in Unearthed Arcana, a collection, basically, of ideas a DM could use to add variety to their game. Some are more and some are less fleshed out, but none of them really purports to be complete, done, polished like content in other books.

Then other books used the same concept without doing any of the fleshing out that Unearthed Arcana skipped.

Anyway, here is what we do have on this subject:

Multiclassing between variants of the same class is a tricky subject. In cases where a single class offers a variety of paths (such as the totem barbarian or the monk fighting styles), the easiest solution is simply to bar multiclassing between different versions of the same class (just as a character can't multiclass between different versions of specialist wizards). For variants that are wholly separate from the character class—such as the bardic sage or the urban ranger—multiclassing, even into multiple variants of the same class, is probably okay. Identical class features should stack if gained from multiple versions of the same class (except for spellcasting, which is always separate).

Note this is more musing on what you (as DM) might do, rather than a hard and fast rule. But if we assume your DM implements this suggestion, we can probably extrapolate from there with some confidence. To wit, evangelist appears to be “wholly separate” from cloistered cleric, much more so than bard and bardic sage are from one another, so Unearthed Arcana would seem to support one character multiclassing both of them. You will still have to check with your DM, though.

Would this result in losing a caster level?

Yes, this one Unearthed Arcana is pretty clear and emphatic about:

Under no circumstances does spellcasting ability from multiple classes (even variants of the same class) stack. A character with levels of bard and levels of bardic sage has two separate caster levels and two separate sets of spells per day, even though the classes are very similar.

Your evangelist and cloistered cleric spellcasting are separate, so if you are a cloistered cleric 1st/evangelist 1st, you have caster level 1st in each, with separate spells per day for each. Making the cloistered cleric also a spontaneous divine caster doesn’t change anything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SoyMavi I added an important extra bit there after you accepted, so I’m pinging you hoping to draw your attention to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 8, 2023 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ouch. That separate spellcasting definitely hurts the viability of the resulting build :x \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2023 at 14:18
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You choose what cleric variant you are as part of taking the first level in the cleric class, which then affects all other aspects in that your class grows and your available spell lists. The most RAW answer in this case would be to multiclass for each variant you want to combine into your character.

If you think it might be possible to broaden the scope of your character's usual abilities because of the setting, lore or other features unique to the game setting, you can always consult your DM for a homebrew progression of course.

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