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In D&D 3.5e, in my experience, multiclassing was a very common choice, and the prestige class system, where you're basically always going off of the base classes at high level anyway made taking a few levels of another base class seem like a relatively normal option — at every level, you're choosing which class to advance in, and hey, why not add a level of rogue? (Assuming favored class matched up and all that.)

Overall, I think it's generally the case that multiclassing was awful for spellcasters, but pretty nifty for martial characters — no real downsides, and a lot of customization. Ranger/Rogue split for the first 10 levels or so makes a nice "scout" time of character — arguably better than the "Scout" base class published later. In many ways, this felt like it meant that a dozen base classes equaled a thousand class possibilities (even if most of those were poor).

In making a D&D 5e character (starting at level 3 for a one-off play session), I was trying to look for interesting combinations, and kind of coming up blank. 5e softens the spellcaster problem (with shared "caster levels" and slots when you multiclass) and removes the alignment restrictions and favored classes in favor of (fairly low) ability prereqs. But, on the other side, 1) multiclassing now only grants a limited number of proficiencies for additional classes, and 2) there are increasingly-better class abilities as you go up, and 3) ability score boosts and feats are now tied to class levels — multiclassing means delaying (and forgoing) these.

So: are there 5e classes which do synergize nicely for multiclassing? Or do these all trade shiny, shiny versatility for being distinctly behind the curve? Is multiclassing a trap? (Still a thousand options, but now all of them poor?) Note that I'm not looking at loss of 20th-level capstone abilities, but low- and mid-level play (level 3 in the example at hand, but let's say also 5th and 10th.)

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closed as too broad by mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Sep 15 '14 at 22:35

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is too broad to be a good question for the site; it's basically an invitation to a never-ending discussion about "well THIS combo is good" "well no it's not..." With also being largely opinion-based. I'm not sure what a good answer looks like. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Sep 15 '14 at 22:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that's true; I think the question can be reasonably answered for 3.5 (which is why I started with that), and I don't see why this edition is different in answerability, even if the answer is different. (In, fact, "This can't be determined in this edition, because reasons" might be a good answer, if that were the case.) \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Sep 15 '14 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Yes, but to answer the question, you only need to demonstrate that at least some of them are fine. (Or more ideally, that sets of combinations are fine — as in the example of 3.5E, where martial classes generally multiclass well — and, as a the-way-the-rules-work thing, not as just opinion). \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Sep 15 '14 at 23:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your question boils down to "is multiclassing ever better than staying in one class". That's an opinion-based question that will produce subjective answers. Maybe change to "Can you give multiclassing examples that enable optimizations that aren't available to a single class". \$\endgroup\$ – briddums Sep 15 '14 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this could be a good question if you emphasized the “Is multiclassing a trap?” element. It could be the case that it’s a trap for some classes but not others (like spellcasters in D&D3). And it could be that some classes are especially well-suited to multiclassing or level drops. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Sep 16 '14 at 1:26