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In Wizards of the Coasts article “Prestige Classes and Rune Magic” states that it uses the normal D&D multiclassing rules. Comparing it to what I know of D&D 3.5e prestige classes consist usually of four levels. Does this mean that in 5e, a character can only have 16 levels in a base class and 4 in the prestige instead of 20 levels in a base class and 4 in the prestige?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is tagged d&d 5e but you talk about 3.5 prestige classes in the body. What's going on there? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 27, 2017 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ The majority of 3.5E prestige classes are 5 or 10 levels... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 28, 2017 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you read the PHB and the DMG? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 28, 2017 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I apologize I only briefly went over prestige in 3.5 to compare it to what Unearthed Arcana release as I never played anything other than 5e \$\endgroup\$ Mar 28, 2017 at 15:09

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Your question boils down to two ingredients: Do prestige classes work like normal multiclassing, and does D&D 5e still have a level limit of 20?

  1. Do prestige classes work like normal multiclassing? Yes:

    Mechanically, a prestige class is a character class that requires the same training and focus as any other class. You enter a prestige class by way of the normal multiclassing rules.

  2. Does D&D 5e still have a level limit of 20? Yes.

    The prestige class rules offered in the playtest material in Unearthed Arcana do not include any change to the base game's level limit, which is level 20.

As a side note, the first prestige class we've seen (the Rune Scribe) offers 5 levels to multiclass into, not 4. It bears repeating that experience with mechanically unrelated games can be misleading and should generally be ignored when looking at how D&D 5e works.

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