Some weeks ago, I met a new guy that built a dwarf Fighter/Rogue character (lvl 3). Now at level 5 he wants to became a Wizard, in such a way this dwarf Fighter/Rogue/Wizard can become (in the future) a Spellsword (Complete Warrior).

Well, my problem is that I think that a mage needs to study the arcane magic for many years, with books, research, etc. How can a character become a Wizard, starting from a Fighter/Rogue, during an adventure? He says that he can justify this fact visiting the guild of magicians and asking/paying for some courses and books.

I don't like the idea that a warrior can became a Wizard simply studying some books or, in any case, in a few weeks. I want to know how to manage a situation like this without saying "I'm the game master, you can't do that." Is there some rule about that?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is not 100% clear from your post which levels the character currently has: Fighter 1/Rogue 3? \$\endgroup\$ – Giorin Dec 7 '16 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Start as Fighter 2/Rogue 1, after became Fighter 2/Rogue 2 and now reach lvl 5. \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ it would be helpful if you guide us a bit what kind of answer you expect: RAW? Helpful advice about this or that aspect or an experienced GM opinion (which we are not the site for) \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Dec 7 '16 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is aimed to know if there is some rule that I can use against this idea of build, because if I say "I'm the master you't do that" probably bad discussione arise. \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 11:06

There is absolutely no rule in the book that may prevent any kind of base class multiclassing (except special restrictions on races for certain classes or prestige classes, but they don't apply in this case).

It all boils down on how you roleplay level advancement. Some prefer the "videogame" approach where a level up is earned immediately, others instead play it as a long training that lasts weeks, if not months.

That said, your player should probably justify its choice, and explain why his warrior wants to become a Wizard. Maybe he picked up a few arcane tricks along his journey and now wants to deepen his knowledge on the matter, or he thinks that he absolutely has to learn magic for some reason.

You're also right that arcane magic requires a great amount of dedication, and you should probably wait to level him up untill he has enough time to study it and get that first level.

In the end, as I said, there is no rule about denying multiclass, but the standard multiclass penalities are the perfect fit for this situation. As he's already expert in swordfighting and thievery, having another thing to practice will need a greater effort, thus requiring more experience to level up again.

If the roleplay justification doesn't convince you, you could also veto it, as you're the master and you have the final word on everything, but I think this should be used as a last resort, only to prevent some kind of roleplay catastrophe.

A final (personal) thought, from DM to DM: your players want to have fun with their builds and characters, so denying them a choice just for a roleplaying quirk means denying him fun. His character is HIS character, and as a rule of thumb I always prefer not limiting players as much as I can (and this makes the game a balancing nightmare, but that's another problem).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well the problem is that, until now, his charcters ignore all the magic thing. He fight and check traps but it has never been shown to have some interest in magic: suddenly now, at level up, he realized that he wants to become a wizard. (nothing in backgroudn, nothing during the last sessions) \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 8:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, this is his problem. Let him come up with a reason whit, an let it be as thorough as possible. If he does it well, it will stimulate roleplay, and better define his character. Anyway as I already said, I would close an eye on an half explanation and allow him to multiclass anyway, rather than denying him the option, but that's just my thought. As a DM you're free to handle this as you see fit. \$\endgroup\$ – BgrWorker Dec 7 '16 at 9:09

Instead of treating it as breaking the fluff/story, try using this as an opportunity to inject a bit of backstory for the character in question. Perhaps as a boy he took an apprenticeship with another wizard who later turned out to be a dangerous and decidedly evil necromancer. After the necromancer fled the Dwarf settlement, the elder council had the boy's memories removed and something recently shook them loose, giving him the knowledge to start learning spells again.

Alternatively, you could suggest that rather than multiclassing as a Wizard (resulting in weaker spells and XP penalties), maybe he could invest in Use Magic Device and buy some wands and scrolls. The advantage being he could probably access higher level spells, quicker, this way than if he went the wizard route.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank for your idea. The last solution is not applicable: he want to became a wizard, only to get the prerequirements for the Spellsword Prestige Class \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 11:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like your player recently found the spellsword class and really likes it. Perhaps it's time to sit down with him and discuss creating a new character (Fi 1/Wiz 3 for instance)? Otherwise he's going to be looking at either some multiclass XP penalties or headaches trying to level Ro, Wi and Spellsword classes equally. \$\endgroup\$ – gaynorvader Dec 7 '16 at 12:11

To some extent, the difficulty of that trading will be represented by the fact that with a third class the player will be advancing far more slowly. Remember that this now counts against the multiclassing rules and gaining levels in any of those classes just got a lot harder.

Also think about it the other way round - if you had a wizard/fighter would you let them easily take rogue levels? Because if so you aren't objecting to the build but instead just the order the classes were taken, which when you examine it is a bit odd.

If you still need a reason, the easiest way I suppose is mentorship by some powerful arcane force or individual. A good teacher cuts through years of heartbreak.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I not agree with the last two things you say: I can think wizard/fighter (better a Warmage!) that became a rogue, if the background of the character says something like "I starts as a mage because my mentor was a mage, but I like to fight and also steal and play with traps". In his background he talks only about the fighter. \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 8:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're okay with allowing Rogue because "I steal and play with traps", why not allow Wizard because "I like to read books and play with magic"? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 7 '16 at 10:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because, IMHO, you can became a Rogue (first level) with your talent and practice in few weeks, but to became a Wizard (first level) you need years; different in case of sorcerer \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's probably worth considering that each level takes progressively more XP. His 5th level as Wizard is going to represent a 6000 XP (if my memory serves). That same 6000 XP, starting from scratch, would give him three levels of Wizard. He's already taking a big penalty for being late out of the starting gate. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 2 '18 at 21:06

To my knowledge there isnt a rule limiting what you can multiclass into, however as DM you do have a right to make the final decision on your own story and create house rules.

However as an alternative you can suggest the player go into a class whose magic comes from bloodlines/Pacts like a sorcerer or Warlock. For story purposes that would be easier to explain than years of studying books and scrolls that wizards would do, and have some interesting role playing opportunities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ He don't want to become a sorcerer, because is characters have a small value for Charisma (7 or 8)... \$\endgroup\$ – GiordiX Dec 7 '16 at 8:44

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