Ever wanted to play two classes at once? If your DM is cool with it, so are Wizards of the Coast. The Player’s Handbook provides a particular rule that introduces a large amount of character diversity; multiclassing. This rule has been in Dungeons & Dragons for a long time – since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – but 5E introduces a few unique rules to make things easier. Even so, the choice to multiclass is complex, and there’s a lot of options open for use… Twelve, to be exact! So, let’s check out how 5th edition handles this fun take on D&D with our Multiclassing 5E Guide.
Multiclassing 5E Guide
The rule of “Multiclassing” refers to choosing a different class from your starting class when you level up. Rather than continuing to receive the benefits of your first class, you gain some of the benefits of the other class. This sacrifices being very good in one aspect of 5E to becoming diversely adept at an array of skills.
The story or character-based reasons to multiclass are much too vast to cover in one guide. Maybe a Cleric wants to dedicate everything to battling for their god, and thus multiclasses with Paladin. Or maybe a Warlock finds that they have more power in their blood than in their pact, and multiclasses with Sorcerer. While you can come up with a near-infinite amount of stories for multiclassing, the actual mechanical benefits are pretty well-defined.
Whenever you multiclass, you choose another class to receive some benefits of. Your character level increases normally, but you must keep track of your two classes separately – For example, a level 5 Monk / level 5 Ranger is a level 10 character. You don’t need to continue leveling up one class over the other, nor do you need to stay to only 2 classes – Theoretically, you could multiclass into every single class! Though, there are a few reasons why that might not be ineffective.
In addition to class levels, you’ll have to keep track of your hit dice separately. For example, that level 5 Monk / level 5 Ranger from before has ten d10 hit dice in their pool. However, a Wizard 5/Cleric 5 would have five d6s and five d8s. Depending on how many casters you multiclass into, you might find that your short rests don’t heal you for very much!
Thankfully, your proficiency bonus is level-based. You can check any class chart for that… Though you do gain different proficiencies based on what class you are. You don’t gain all of the level 1 proficiencies of a class; Just specific ones. You’ll have to see what each class has to offer… And sadly, none of them offer Heavy Armor.
And then there’s the weird stuff; specific class features act strangely for multiclassing.
Channel Divinity doesn’t give additional uses if you’d get the feature from multiclassing multiple times. This really only applies to cleric/paladin, but it’s important to note. You only get extra uses from Channel Divinity if one of your classes is strong enough to get there. At least you get to choose which Channel Divinity options you use, but… It does make the Paladin/Cleric multiclass a little less bright.
Extra Attack also suffers a bit from this ability. The only case where Extra Attack stacks is with the Fighter’s Extra Attacks at levels 11 and 17. You nullify any other case where you may get an extra swing – yes, that includes the Warlock’s Thirsting Blade. In most cases, this renders the level 5 ability of martial classes completely moot.
Unarmored Defense gets nullified if you have it more than once. That means the Monk/Barbarian can’t get both their Constitution and Wisdom added to their AC. This should not dissuade you from making the most ham, angry, buff monk you can… But it does make them a little easier to hit than would be expected otherwise.
As usual for any edition of D&D, spellcasting is the most complex part of multiclassing. 5E does quite a beautiful job implementing it, however.
You need to separate your spellcasting classes based on your spells prepared. A ranger 2/wizard 2 would need 2 different spell lists – each detailed under the classes’ “Spells Known and Prepared” category. These spells prepared are restricted to spells that class would be able to prepare at that level; while the above character is a 4th level character, they can only learn spells of a level 2 ranger, for example. To cast a spell from those classes, you use the ability modifier of that class – the ranger would use Wisdom and the Wizard, Intelligence. A little convoluted, and a little busy, but it all makes sense.
Where 5E does a fantastic job – in my opinion – is with the Spell slots. A multiclass character gains spell slots based on the power of the casting classes they are part of. A full caster – one that can potentially learn 9th level spells – adds 1 level to the basic caster table. A half caster – one that can potentially learn 5th level spells – adds half of a level to the table. A partial caster – where a subclass can potentially learn 4th level spells – adds a fourth of a level to the table. Warlocks do not have traditional Spell Slots, and therefore, do not add any levels to this table. For example, a level 1 Wizard adds 1 level to the total number of spell slots the character has. A level 2 Ranger adds 1 level. A level 3 Eldritch Knight adds 1 level.
In 5E, you can spend spell slots as any class for any classes’ spell list. That means that a Cleric 1/Wizard 19 can use a 9th level spell slot to cast Cure Wounds. It doesn’t mean that you know Cleric spells of 9th level, however; Cleric spells are restricted by level, as are most casting classes.
Pact Magic gets wild with these rules. As per the PHB;
If you have both the Spellcasting class feature and the Pact Magic class feature from the warlock class, you can use the spell slots you gain from the Pact Magic feature to cast spells you know or have prepared from classes with the Spellcasting class feature, and you can use the spell slots you gain from the Spellcasting class feature to cast warlock spells you know.
Since you gain the class features of the classes you multiclass into, it’d be nice to briefly touch on each of them! Let’s combine our knowledge of the basics with what each of these classes can offer a multiclass build.
Since you could theoretically put 19 levels into any of these, we will briefly go over the class and think about how their class features could work with any of the others. Most multiclass characters only put 1 to 5 levels into any other class, however, so those will be the levels that are most important for us.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Shields, simple and martial weapons|
Ah, Barbarians! The martial maulers! They give pretty good proficiencies at level 1, though no armor can be problematic unless you already have some meat on those bones.
Rage can be both a blessing or a curse. For every single non-caster class in the game, Rage is essentially 2 minutes per day where you are a god of war. It gives a +2 bonus to Strength-based damage rolls, gives you advantage on Strength checks, and gives you resistance to all physical damage types. That’s pretty huge… Though mostly because of the Resistance. The damage increases rather slowly , only increasing to +4 after 13 levels of commitment and never getting higher. And you can’t cast or concentrate on spells while raging, making it less useful for casters. If there are spells that last a long time, however, you could cast them and then go into rage, making you a better melee combatant.
As you put more levels in, the Barbarian class can still benefit you, though maybe not as much as the first level. d12s are a rather gigantic source of defense, and you get some utility in Danger Sense, Fast Movement, Feral Instinct, and Brutal Critical. Reckless Attack is only really useful if you can back it up with melee attack damage, but can end fights with lucky enough rolls.
An impressive multiclass option, but I would suggest keeping it between 1 to 5 levels of investment, maybe 6 if you want that Path feature and extra rage. After that point, the Barbarian just keeps becoming tankier and hurt-ier, rather than offering potent utility options.
Barbarian Multiclass Options
- Bard: It’s hard to sing when you’re really mad. Because you can’t cast spells or concentrate while you’re raging, a lot of Bard’s best magic becomes weaker. You get okay support stuff… But that’s probably not worth it.
- Cleric: Similar to the above, Rage and Spellcasting doesn’t really mix. A lot of the best Cleric domains also like Heavy Armor… Another thing that Barbarians aren’t huge fans of. You can make it work sometimes, but… It’s not an easy combo.
- Druid: Getting Wild Shape is a useful health shield above your own, and gives the Barbarian some forms and utility they don’t have access to otherwise. And unlike Clerics, Druids also hate heavy armor!
- Fighter: Top notch choice! Combining Rage with Fighter levels is a really good way to become the most brutal frontliners in the game. Fighting Style boosts your damage, second wind heals you, and Action Surge is one of the best 2 level dips ever. The only downside is you don’t get anything from the proficiencies, but… That barely matters!
- Monk: Monk is the other Unarmored Defense class. Unfortunately, they don’t stack. In addition, Barbarians really don’t care for Dexterity, and Rage doesn’t give you many benefits for Martial Arts. You just don’t get enough benefits for using Monk.
- Paladin: Not an awful choice, but Paladins really like trudging around in Heavy Armor. At least Divine Smite works? It’s not the easiest synergy… But not super awful, if you wanna be an angry zealot.
- Ranger: You don’t mind getting Dexterity, and Wisdom is a good stat. Rage can be good, but you’ll need to be creative with your spell slots; Hunter’s Mark doesn’t work. Ranger’s fighting styles give barbarians a similar edge to Fighter, which is nice. A decent choice.
- Rogue: Barbarian’s Rage and Rogue’s Cunning Action work rather well together. Since Rogue gives a big bonus to damage to a single attack, you actually don’t really care about needing to wait on Extra attack. Really good idea, if you need more movement.
- Sorcerer: The only real upside for Sorcerer is Unarmored defense and d12 hit dice. Sorcerers don’t really like to melee, and Rage interrupts casting. You can make it work, but… Don’t try too hard.
- Warlock: Actually not awful! Warlocks are somewhat reliant on spellcasting, but most of their best spells are ranged. You can keep Rage for fights after you used your spell slots, and just want to be a tank. This does mean you have to invest in Charisma, though…
- Wizard: No. Wizards need high Int to be effective, and Barbarians just have no use for int. You counter your d6s with your insane amount of durability, at least… But Rage is just countering a Wizard’s gameplan.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light armor, one skill, one musical instrument|
Have you ever heard legends of the Bard-barian? I’d hope not. That’s a hard combo to handle!
Bard’s our first spellcaster, and because of that, it’s automatically a pretty substantial option. Building up spell slots can be really good. However, the Bard’s level 1 spells are… Somewhat lackluster, compared to the Cleric or Wizard. You’d want to get more than just spells.
Thank goodness you also get Inspiration! Adding a d6 to a roll as a bonus action can literally save lives. And you don’t get extra dice based on your Bard level; the dice only increases in size. So you aren’t punished too much by a 1 level dip.
When it comes to utility, Bards know no bounds. Jack of All Trades, Expertise, Font of Inspiration, Countercharm, Magical Secrets… While you don’t get too much combat power from them, you certainly won’t have trouble with skill rolls! Do remember that Magical Secrets is based off of Bard level, not character level.
Bard Colleges are actually really good arguments for a Bard multiclass for a good amount of the classes. No joke. Check out the College of Swords, for instance. At level 3, you get Medium armor proficiency, can cast with a weapon in your hand for free, get a Fighting Style, and can use your Inspiration for utility. All of that, at level 3. Valour is similar, but a little more support-based. The Colleges of Glamour and Whispers can be good for an intrigue character, giving them some magical options to use Inspiration on. If you’ve only planned to dip one or two levels into Bard, think about getting to 3. It’s worth your while.
Bard Multiclassing Suggestions
- Barbarian: The legends of the Bard-barian are, unfortunately, best kept to legends. The tankiness of Rage doesn’t actually combo very well with the Bard’s spells. Too many of them are concentration, and you normally just want to stay away from the frontlines, or Strength Weapons, when you have a fiddle in your hand.
- Cleric: Not a terrible combo, though you’re spreading your casting stats somewhat thin. Access to heavy armor – with the Forge or Storm domain – brings a new brand to the bard. And the good spells on the Cleric list are pretty different from the bard ones. A new type of support!
- Druid: Druids and Bards, similar to Clerics, get along weirdly. Unlike Clerics, you don’t get Heavy armor, so you’re spreading your stats pretty thin. The Druid spell list is a little worse, and Bard’s don’t benefit from Wild Shape. Unless your GM lets you Wolf Howl to cast spells, take a pass.
- Fighter: Not awful. Fighters don’t need many skills, so this gets you access to pretty solid combat abilities, and covers the Fighter’s out-of-combat weakness. Fighters don’t give you Caster Level, unfortunately, but that’s a small price to pay for the non-casting utility of Action Surge and Fighting Style.
- Monk: Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, and Charisma. Sounds like a lot of important stats, right? That’s because all of those are really important if you wanted this to work. It’s just too much for it to be really effective.
- Paladin: A really cool multiclass! Paladins give a small boost to caster level, so you’re not losing much there. You get the really good supportive abilities offered by your righteous side, and the great support abilities by your performing side. Go for it!
- Ranger: See Monk. It’s just too many stats, so something will suffer. Slightly better than Monk, since you don’t need Wisdom for Unarmored Defense.
- Rogue: You are the master of skills. With spells, two different times to get Expertise, and two different classes worth of utility features, your out-of-combat power is insane. And thanks to Sneak Attack, you hurt in combat, too.
- Sorcerer: Charisma and Charisma. It works well for you. You do spread out your spell list a little, but the spell lists each have unique choices that compliment the other; giving the Sorcerer support and the Bard damage.
- Warlock: Speaking of out-of-combat power, the Warlock is a really good choice for bards. Even with the Pact Magic/Spell Slot split, the Warlock gives bard aggressive choices in Hexblade or Eldritch Blast. In return, the Warlock’s absolutely horrible lack of skills or utility spells are completely fixed. You can still get 9th level spells if you only get your Pact boons and your second 1st level Pact Magic slot.
- Wizard: A multiclass with Wizard is a lot for your poor Stat slots. If you’re willing to trade stats for utility, though, Wizard is insane. You will have a solution for every single problem. Arcane traditions round up your somewhat weak spell list, Arcane Recovery gives you some spell slots back… Overall, a great choice for a problem solver, weakened by needing Intelligence.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light and medium armor, shields|
The allure of divine light is quite substantial, so the Cleric is an easy choice for a short – or long – dip. Out of all the classes in the game, Cleric might have some of the best reasons to get a level in. At level 1, you get one level of spell casting, Light and medium armor, shields, and a Divine Domain. Divine Domains have ridiculous level 1 abilities. Consider the Forge domain; two strong spells, Heavy Armor proficiency, smith’s tools, and easy magical weapons. The Tempest domain gives better proficiencies and a rather potent offensive tool. And all of them give spells and at least one potent ability at level 1. That’s quite a combination!
Unfortunately, other than domains, the only reason to put levels into Cleric is for casting. The basic features of the Cleric simply exist to augment Channel Divinity. And you get a lot of mileage with just first level spells, like Cure Wounds, that efficiently use high-level spell slots. You’d mainly put levels into cleric to gain access to higher level spell options.
That’s not to say Domains aren’t worth putting points into. The Tempest Domain can multiclass with a Storm Sorcerer to make really good use of its electric-based abilities. Or Forge Clerics can multiclass with Warlocks to turn a rather squishy caster into a really tough tank, with the ranged options of Eldritch Blast. The first level of the Cleric class is incredibly powerful. If you want to put more points in, then fantastic; Channel Divinity is good too! But make sure your Domain is worth it.
Cleric Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: The raging zealot is always fun to play, but Cleric/Barbarian is just… Weak. Rage just doesn’t give you many benefits over just advancing in the Forge Cleric line. Most Domains really like to wear Heavy Armor, so the Unarmored Defense is wasted. Rage is good… But that’s about it.
- Bard: Too many stats! Clerics like all the stats Bards don’t. And Clerics nor Bards need more support abilities. This is a really hard class split, so maybe stick with your awesome spell list.
- Druid: Remember Barbarians? Yeah, they don’t benefit from Heavy Armor. Druid’s can’t either… Unless your GM lets you use Stoneplate or Ironbark armor. A lot of Druid spells are on the Cleric list, so you’re better off just being in the Tempest Domain if you want control over the weather. Despite sharing Wisdom, this is less effective than it seems.
- Fighter: Augmenting the frontlining Cleric with martial weapons is a good idea. Giving Clerics the access to self-heals as a bonus action is a great idea. Giving Clerics access to two actions in a turn during a desperate time is genius.
- Monk: Unlike the problems with Barbarian and Druid, giving a Cleric Wisdom to AC tends to be a good idea. Combine this with the domains of Death or Knowledge – which don’t like Heavy Armor – and you can focus on Dex/Con/Wis without much of a problem. You will lose spell slots, but you’ll be effective.
- Paladin: Paladins love to burn Spell Slots on Smite. So, giving them more spell slots to burn is really good. Getting to the Oath stage of your Paladin is super nice for any Cleric, giving you a new option for Channel Divinity. Do remember that you don’t get extra uses of Channel Divinity from Paladin, and your stats are going to be spread thin because of the Charisma…
- Ranger: A fine choice. Wisdom is a good bridge between the two classes, and you’ll gain access to Natural Explorer, Fighting Styles, and spells; all of which give good utility. You also don’t lose as many caster levels as a Fighter would, and you won’t spread yourself as thin as a Paladin. It’s honestly a good choice.
- Rogue: If you’re the Trickster domain, you might be obligated to go Rogue. As long as you’ve got enough chance to hit a foe with a weapon, sneak attack will never be bad. You’ll also get some great non-spell utility with Expertise, and some action economy with Cunning Action. It’s not a bad thing for a Cleric, who is normally immobile, and has trouble fighting effectively without their spells.
- Sorcerer: Cleric spells tend to do low damage; see Fireball vs. Flame Strike. Sorcerer gives you access to a whole new archive of spells, and the amazing Font of Magic ability. If you’re willing to put 3 or 4 levels into Sorcerer, Metamagic can easily save a life when applied to Cleric spells – Quickened Spell and Distant Spell are good culprits. The big problem is that Sorcerer’s are Charisma casters, so you’ll be spreading yourself thin.
- Warlock: Once again, you’ll be spreading yourself quite thin. Pact Magic is pretty good for sorcerers, since you can easily pick people off the ground with 6 1st-level Healing Words. But at the expense of having 13 Charisma… That’s a lot to ask for that minor benefit. Not to mention how pissed your god will be at you if you choose Fiend.
- Wizard: Spreading yourself is a bad idea, but if you’re using that spread to get Wizard spells… It’s not so bad. The Wizard spellbook is the saving grace of this build. Getting a lot of arcane utility is important, and, like the Bard, you’ll soon have the solutions to any problem your GM can throw at you. Mix in some Arcane Recovery and Arcane Traditions, and you’ve got a reason to get 13 Int.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light and medium armor, shields (non-metal clause applies)|
Druids offer one of the worst 1st level dips in the game. They give the same proficiencies as Clerics, access to spellcasting with a solid spell list, and a language. That’s it. It’s far from bad, but there are better spellcasting options. If all you wanted was the proficiencies and spellcasting, go for Cleric instead.
Investing two levels into Druid is where things get good. Wild Shape is one of the most powerful abilities in the game, but it is restrictive early on. It will still give you a health shield over your normal one, letting you soak extra damage before taking “actual” pain. And, even at level 2, you can still get quite a number of useful transformations to solve puzzles with. And hilariously, you gain up to 4 hours of transformation a day at level 2, which is quite significant.
And also consider your Druidic Circle. Moon gives you so many extra hit points, and access to so many more beast options. Use this if you’re a frontline character who needs to be able to tank a few punches. Dreams is a solid consideration for healers. Spores can be good if you want a few extra aggressive options, rather than wild shaping.
The more levels you put into druids, the better your Wild Shape and Druid Circle get, as well as access to better spells. If you want just some extra health for fighting, and a few new spells that let you heal and tank damage, just put 2 levels in and get Moon. But, if you’re looking for strong Wild Shape options, better access to your Circle abilities, and some of the best spells Nature can grant you, six levels may be about right.
Druid Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Angry bears are fantastic. When you Wild Shape and Rage at the same time, you will feel the fear in your enemy’s eyes. Since you’re likely already investing in Strength and Constitution, you might as well accept anger into your life, and become a complete wall of health and resistance.
- Bard: Druid and Bard have no synergy with one another. It’s hard to sing to an adoring public when you’re a dog, and that means you can’t cast or use the Bard’s great Concentration spells. Besides, you really can’t dip into Charisma as a Druid.
- Cleric: Not a bad choice. One level dip can nab you quite a few good class features, some new spell options, and a domain abilities to mix with your sometimes lacking spell list. While you can’t cast cleric spells while in Wild Shape, that doesn’t mean having the extra options won’t help you.
- Fighter: You get Martial Weapons, which can be good if you’re not planning on Wild Shaping often. Action Surge and Second Wind can be nice for druids, and Fighting Styles are good if – once again – you’re sticking with a “non Wild Shape” Druid circle. You might want to stick it out to level 3 Fighter to gain more options with melee weapons, since Druids don’t really get much out of them, otherwise.
- Monk: Pretty solid choice. Unarmored defense, unfortunately, doesn’t apply while you’re Wild Shaped. Martial Arts still does! If you’ve got some good Dexterity, you’ve got yourself a potent combo for kneeing people in the face while you’re a falcon.
- Paladin: Too much stat spread. And you can’t really benefit from Heavy Armor, so your Strength is kind of wasted here. If you do this, you can get access to Divine Smite, a wonderful ability for casters, and an option for Wild Shape, but… It’s not really worth it, in our books.
- Ranger: Wisdom class? Check. Likes Dexterity? Check. Gives you bonuses to damage against targets with weapons? Check. Consider using this as a chance to try out non-Wild Shape druids!
- Rogue: Druids benefit a lot from the efficient movement and out-of-combat options that Rogues provide. Sneak attack works no matter what you hit your enemies with, so you can feel free to be the stealthiest ostrich around.
- Sorcerer: Stat spread’s just too much to handle. It’s not easy, and druid spells are harder to metamagic, thanks to Wild Shape.
- Warlock: A little better than Sorcerer, but Druid spells are rough at level 1, so pact magic is kind of wasted. You do get good cantrips, though. Take the dip if you’re willing to spread your stats.
- Wizard: Stat spread’s a bit much, and Wizards really like to not be mole rats, so they can cast and use Concentration spells. Gives you good utility, though.
|Prerequisite||Strength 13 or Dexterity 13|
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons|
Ah, the traditional multiclass target. Back in the old days, you might as well have put “1 Level Dip into Fighter” as your name! Now, the Fighter multiclass is a bit tuned back.
You gain access to all of the good combat proficiencies – other than Heavy Armor – at level 1. You also gain a Fighting Style, which is a really powerful bonus for any character; Even Warlocks and Clerics who prefer ranged spell combat can benefit from the “Defense” style. And any class with a weapon in their hand can really increase their accuracy or damage. Second Wind is a somewhat minor bonus, but it gives you access to healing without spending spell slots. That’s good, but not great. Really take this if you want to use a Fighting Style… Or to increase your Forge Cleric’s AC by yet another +1.
Level 2 is a rather powerful level for any class. Action Surge is a game change for every class… Except Fighter. Kidding, kidding… But seriously. Most classes would kill to be able to get an additional action on their turn. This lets a caster cast two spells in one turn. A Paladin can smite a target twice. A Barbarian can use two Reckless Attacks. Almost any class can benefit massively from this ability, and it’s the biggest reason to take a Fighter.
Afterwards, Martial Archetypes are really good. At level 3, they each give the Fighter some utility. Eldritch Knight is a good way to make a caster into a more efficient frontliner. Battle Master gives martial characters some utility with their attacks. You have options here, if you’re willing to dedicate more levels after level 2.
Other than some extra attacks and the Martial Archetype, the only major thing Fighters get is a better Ability Score Improvement track. And that’s probably not worth dipping points into a class that might be better spent elsewhere. An 8 level dip gives potentially 3 feats, which is great, but that’s a lot of levels going into a class that’s great at swinging swords… And not much else.
If you’re planning on getting some Fighter levels, a 2 level dip can turn you into a complete boss destroyer. Any more should be met with some consideration into how long you should study the blade, rather than more versatile options.
Fighter Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: The most iconic multiclass. Rage is great for melee fighters, and even Reckless Attack can be worthwhile. Really stellar combo!
- Bard: Gives the Fighter some support abilities, ally healing, and skill ranks. Worth your while. Consider getting to the College of Valor or Swords before switching back.
- Cleric: Same deal with Bard, but Wisdom is a little better than Charisma in most cases. And the Domains are right away, meaning you can invest a little less to get strong abilities.
- Druid: Fighters prefer to use weapons rather than Wild Shape, but the option is there to give you a massive amount of health at a moment’s notice. The metal restriction narrows what you can wear, however, so choose carefully.
- Monk: Fighters really like using weapons. That said, if you aren’t a Two-Weapon Fighter, you can use Monk Weapons and then your bonus action to get some extra jabs in. Not the worst thing for a high Dex and Wis fighter… But, not the best.
- Paladin: Really solid choice. Get to Pally 2/Fighter 2, and watch as a combination of Divine Smite and Action Surge absolutely decimates the battlefield. You also get support abilities with Lay on Hands, and if you get to level 3, then Oaths become a major power boost for you.
- Ranger: Once again, good choice. Hunter’s Mark is a good spell, and you can get an extra fighting style. Worth the Wisdom!
- Rogue: A stellar option for any Fighter. Get Swashbuckler and watch as your fighter whirls around the battlefield, dealing 2d6 damage on their first stab.
- Sorcerer: Not a bad option. You can always benefit from having some spells in the tank, and Sorcerers can get quite a few extra spells. Combine it with Eldritch Knight for some fun stuff.
- Warlock: Pact Magic and the Hexblade are really, really good for Fighter. This is worth the dip. Especially if you go Eldritch Knight, pick up a bow, and use Eldritch Blast and a bow shot.
- Wizard: A Fighter with utility? That’s illegal! Get the best of both worlds with this multiclass, and use Eldritch Knight to get some really strong spell synergy with weapon attacks.
|Prerequisite||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13|
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Simple weapons, shortswords|
Monks and Rangers have been tangled together as the worst class in 5E. There’s some level of truth to this, but that doesn’t make them useless. Not in the slightest.
At level 1, you suddenly no longer need equipment. Martial Arts makes your unarmed strikes vicious, and Unarmored Defense adds Wisdom to your AC, instead of any armor bonus. Martial Arts gives you access to a pretty good bonus action – punching someone in the kidney. They also make Dexterity the only really necessary offensive statistic for weapon attacks, which is great for your AC.
Unarmored Defense is great for Clerics and Druids with high dexterity, and those characters should really consider a Monk level. Note that, unlike the Barbarian, Monks can’t wield shields and benefit from their Unarmored Defense.
Further levels into Monk give you Ki, a resource that can be spent aggressively or defensively. As time goes on, you can use your Ki to stun, reroll saving throws, or become invisible. Monks also have the best saving throws of any class, and have really great options for combat. And that’s not even mentioning Monastic Traditions, granting you even more utility when you fight without weapons. Consider Way of the Open Hand or Drunken Fist for the fantastic bonuses to Flurry of Blows at level 3.
The big issue with monks is that they are a scaling class, mostly going for late-game defensive abilities. And by endgame, their unarmed strikes don’t hit quite as hard as a Greatsword. That’s not to say you can’t get really good numbers from a monk… But the multiclass with Monk benefits casters a little more than the other martials in the game. Consider a 1 level dip if you’re a Wisdom caster with high Dexterity. If you’re a martial character, you should consider Monk if you have high dexterity, don’t have great ways to use Bonus Actions, and don’t mind dedicating 6 to 11 levels into it.
Monk Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Rage is great for monks since they’re not the tankiest class in the world. Don’t invest too much in Barbarian, since the only real benefit is the resistance that Rage gives you. Use a Strength weapon here, and consider Way of the Kensai.
- Bard: Stat spread isn’t very fun. Be a Cleric instead.
- Cleric: Domain options, a great spell list, a perfect use of Wisdom, Channel Divinity… If you have any reason to combine these two, do it.
- Druid: You’re essentially doing this to get druid spells, which are like Cleric spells, but worse. You can Wild Shape to get extra health if an enemy always hits you, but… You’d prefer the extra AC. This isn’t a good one.
- Fighter: Action Surge. Flurry of Blows. Fighting Styles with Way of the Kensai. This is a really good combination.
- Paladin: Stat spread is really, really not fun.
- Ranger: This is like a Paladin, but they like Dexterity and Wisdom. Fighting Styles and Spells are both great for Monks. Hunter’s Mark combines with Flurry of Blows extremely well. This is worth the dip.
- Rogue: Monks don’t really need the out-of-combat abilities and in-combat utility of the rogue; they have plenty of ways in and out of a fight. Sneak attack is pretty nice, though. Even if you tend to attack a lot every round.
- Sorcerer: Not the best use of your stats. Cleric will likely work better.
- Warlock: See above.
- Wizard: See slightly further above.
|Prerequisite||Strength 13 and Charisma 13|
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons|
Ah, divine warrior in armor… Why are you so strong?
If you multiclass into Paladin, you’ve gotta get to level 3. You’re going to want more than just Divine Sense and Lay on Hands; Cleric would be better, since spells offer just as much utility and healing. You’ll want at least Divine Smite, Fighting Styles, and that 1st spell level increase. As discussed in the Fighter section, fighting styles are very strong for any weapon user… Though your selection is slightly limited. Divine Smite is an efficient way to use low level spell slots. And I don’t think I need to say how good spells are.
By level 3, the Paladin slows down. By swearing your oath, you gain access to Channel Divinity and Divine Health. And this is kinda the beginning of the Paladin slowing down a bit. Oaths are good, since they give you more spells and combat utility, and Divine Health can prevent massively debilitating debuffs from affecting you. But other than that, you’re only looking to improve your Oath and get some auras.
Get to level 2, and then start considering how much your Oath would benefit your build. Each one has merits – Vengeance and Devotion for sure – but none quite as strong as the first 2 levels.
Paladin Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Rage and frontliners go together really well. Divine Smite during Rage can destroy planets. The Barbarian is a great option for any really angry zealot.
- Bard: Paladins are already solid supports, so adding in Bardic Inspiration and some extra utility spells definitely doesn’t hurt.
- Cleric: The stat spread is a little bit too much. You still do benefit a lot from the extra spells and domain abilities, but only if you’re willing to dedicate some Wisdom to it.
- Druid: The stat spread is far too much, especially since druids hate heavy armor.
- Fighter: Action Surge. Divine Smite. Win a fight.
- Monk: The monk likes every stat that the Paladin doesn’t like, except Intelligence. This won’t work well.
- Ranger: Same issue as the monk; the stat spread just isn’t worth the rewards. Go Fighter instead.
- Rogue: The paladin benefits a lot from the extra out-of-combat use and the mobility that the Rogue offers. This isn’t a bad choice, if you have trouble getting in.
- Sorcerer: A really, really good use of Charisma. Using Font of Magic to get spells back for your Divine Smite is far from a bad use of the ability. And you’ll get a good ranged option with your cantrips.
- Warlock: Pretty much the same benefits as Sorcerer; good ranged options, decent spell list, not much stat commitment.
- Wizard: Paladins don’t need intelligence, while Wizards need it more than oxygen.
|Prerequisite||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13|
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light and medium armor, shields, simple and martial weapons, one skill (restricted to Ranger list)|
The Ranger is one of those classes that has a lot of trouble working to their fullest extent. Thankfully, if you plan on multiclassing into them, their first 5 levels are their best.
Getting access to Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer right away is a godsend. Favored Enemy gives you really good bonuses, if your GM is a kind one and lets you know what you’ll be fighting early on. Natural Explorer is a massive pile of utility bonuses that will come up time and time again.
If you get two more levels, Fighting Styles remain a rather great choice for any class using weapons, and Spells are… Well, they’re spells. Ranger Archetypes add a whole new level of usefulness; The Colossus Slayer ability of the Hunter is a solid choice for any class, and an Animal Companion is quite good… Though, you should probably choose Hunter if you’re going to only put a few levels into Ranger. No need to have a 12 health Wolf!
The maximum amount of power you should put into your Ranger class levels is 5. The Ranger gets next to no extra power afterwards.
Ranger Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Good idea for a melee Ranger. Rage gives you the tankiness you’ll need to survive, while dishing out good damage. Unfortunately, Hunter’s Mark is concentration, so the combination isn’t super foolproof.
- Bard: Stat spread is a little too much.
- Cleric: Wonderful combo! Your Wisdom is used on good cleric spells, domains can get you Heavy Armor if you’re building Strength, and you can even get Channel Divinity for extra utility.
- Druid: Solid option, though the spell list can be a little worse than a Cleric’s. Don’t be a Wild Shape druid for this build; weapons are your best friend.
- Fighter: Fighters give the Ranger an extra Fighting Style, a healing ability, action surge, and can even give them better options for the frontline through build paths. This is a great choice.
- Monk: Rangers are really big fans of having weapons in their hands. That being said, Martial Arts can do well for a ranger, giving them an extra attack for a bonus action. It can function, just maybe not too well.
- Paladin: Too much stat spread, unfortunately.
- Rogue: You might be thinking that this might lead to someone who is too good at skills, moving around the battlefield, and identifying/eliminating threats. You would be right. Do this.
- Sorcerer: The stat spread is too rough.
- Warlock: See Sorcerer.
- Wizard: See Warlock.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light armor, one skill (restricted to Rogue list), thieves’ tools.|
Rogues; masters of deceit, keeper of the Sneak Attack.
At level 1, you get some okay proficiencies, Expertise, Sneak Attack, and Thieves’ Cant. Expertise means you’re basically guaranteed to succeed at those two skills you’ve chosen – especially in the late game. That’s pretty awesome, but Bard can do it too, with spell slots. Sneak Attack is a little bit more potent. Adding damage to any attack is pretty significant in 5E. Sneak attack adds damage without you needing to spend any resources.
At level 2, you get Cunning Action, which lets you use your bonus action to do movement. That can be substantial for any martial, especially those that are melee-focused. Surprisingly, Barbarian/Rogue isn’t that bad of an idea. Level 3 is when you get your Archetype, and these are actually not bad. Arcane Trickster gives you some caster level, Scout gives massive amounts of movement, and Mastermind is good for support. All pretty good!
As you level up, you gain abilities to aid in your skill proficiencies, and some solid defensive skills. For those looking to dish out damage, you increase Sneak Attack by a d6 every odd level. Personally, we find that 3 levels in rogue is best, if you’re looking to multiclass.
Rogue Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: One of Rogue’s biggest weaknesses is how squishy it is, making it hard to stay in the frontlines. May I present to you; the opposite of squishy. This combo works well.
- Bard: A fun option. Gives the rogue some support, complete dominance over skills, and utility spells that can help them out of binds.
- Cleric: Have you ever heard of the Trickery Domain? It’s worth a 2 level dip, trust me.
- Druid: A pretty solid option, actually. The extra health given to you by Wild Shape is worthwhile, and the spells are decent. Take Circle of the Moon, and let that wolf do some sneak attacks.
- Fighter: Action Surge and Fighting styles are just too good to leave on the table. You can even find use for the medium armor and shield proficiencies. This is a really good choice.
- Monk: Rogues are itching to find ways to deliver sneak attacks. A fist to the throat seems like it’s not a bad option. And with enough Wisdom, you can replace that leather armor.
- Paladin: While thematically opposed, this archetype leads to Divine Smite Sneak Attacks. And Charisma is rarely wasted on a face Rogue. Not an awful choice, if you already have the extra Charisma.
- Ranger: Not awful. You get some good utility abilities with Natural Explorer, good damage with a fighting style and Hunter’s Mark… This is good.
- Sorcerer: Sorcerer spells are pretty godlike. Using metamagic on your cantrips might not sound very useful, but it can lead to clutch situations to dish out sneak attack.
- Warlock: It’s fine. With enough Charisma, you can get some easy ranged options, and good spells to use in between short rests. Invocations give the Rogue access to some spells and utility that they’d miss otherwise.
- Wizard: Rogues with access to solid utility spells, a way to get them back, and a way to get more spells for Arcane Trickster? Perish the thought! Try this out, only if you plan on going Arcane Trickster.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||—|
Oh, master of the Arcane! What is your secret? And it better not be just more spells…
It’s kinda just more spells.
The Sorcerer gets spells and their build path at level 1. Spells are, as usual, really good. The build paths for the sorcerers – Sorcerous Origins – are good. Not as good as most other build paths, but they augment casting quite positively. The Dragon bloodline makes you rather tanky, and can save you against dragons. Divine Soul is a fantastic support character, with access to one Divine Spell, and solid healing options. Almost all Sorcerous Origins have their uses, especially if you’re a caster.
Font of Magic is the only reason to choose Sorcerer over Wizard. The initial benefit of creating bonus spell slots is pretty fantastic. Any class would want the opportunity to make more 1-5 level spells. And it doesn’t take much investment to do so. Slightly more important is the Metamagic system at level 3. Being able to use Quickened Spell for any class is rather tempting. Distant Spell, Empowered Spell, and Extended Spell are also good candidates.
The Sorcerer is a rather interesting multiclass, in that it’s one of the most synergetic with casters. Consider your Sorcerous Origin when making your build. In most cases, you probably shouldn’t put more than 8 levels into this archetype; get the Ability Score improvement, two origin features, and get out of there! At minimum, get Metamagic. It’s so much fun.
Sorcerer Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Spellcasting and rage doesn’t mix. You shouldn’t be in the frontlines with so many d6s, either.
- Bard: Building the legendary Supportcerer is a worthy cause. Bard has a different enough spell list that a Sorcerer can go full damage and still have options to pick up party members. Not amazing, not awful.
- Cleric: With a little bit of stat spread, the Supportcerer can rise… Now with a Domain to pick up Heavy Armor, Channel Divinity options, and good spells. Nice.
- Druid: No real synergy. You value your spells too much to go into Wild Shape, and Clerics handle the spell list a tiny bit better. It’s not completely awful, but Cleric is better in most cases.
- Fighter: Disintegrate. Action Surge. Fireball.
- Monk: Too many stats.
- Paladin: The Supportcerer returns! Lay on Hands is a great healing ability that doesn’t spend spell slots. Divine Smite is good for low level spell slots in the late game, and Sacred Oaths can be real strong.
- Ranger: See Monk.
- Rogue: You get good mobility options to keep your Sorcerer from becoming a shish kebab, but Sneak Attack doesn’t work on DC-based spells. Sorcerers like their bonus actions, too. This is potentially the rockiest multiclass for Rogue.
- Warlock: This is a potent combo. You’ll get so many low level spell slots, you’ll be drowning. Invocations let you boost up Eldritch Blast to phenomenal heights. Just make sure you don’t invest so much you lose 9th level spell slots!
- Wizard: Sorcerer’s don’t want to be smart. Their blood does that for them.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||Light armor, simple weapons|
Warlock; the odd caster out.
When you multiclass, you get a handful of proficiencies, your Build Path, and Pact Magic right at the start.
Pact Magic is a really, really awkward inclusion to the system. Because Pact Magic doesn’t stack with normal casting levels, you don’t increase it when you multiclass with another caster. Your Warlock 10/Wizard 10 actually only has the pact magic to cast spells like a 10th level Warlock, and only has the spell slots to cast spells like a 10th level Wizard. That being said, refreshing your spell slots on a short rest and using those to cast spells from other classes is actually quite fun. At the 9th level, the Warlock gets two 5th level spell slots per short rest. That could be two 5th level spells from any class, vastly increasing the Warlock’s versatility.
Patrons, like most of the build paths, give a lot of value right away. Hexblade can turn Bards into ruthless killers with a 1 level dip. Fiend is good for tanks and support. Great Old One is a nice augmentation for Wizards to get more information. You can find a pact with 1st level abilities that fit your build, in almost all cases.
Eldritch Invocations are… A little bit interesting. You get a good amount of them early, and almost all of them let you cast spells without spending spell slots, or increase the efficiency of your spells. The Eldritch Blast line turns a basic cantrip into a machine gun or a sniper rifle. Consider Armor of Shadows, if you’re tired of casting Mage Armor every day. Or Agonizing Blast, to give your cantrips a bit more of a punch.
If you’re multiclassing, consider putting 2 – 3 levels into it. That gives you 2 evocations, some reusable 1st or 2nd level spell slots, and some usage out of your pact. If you want to invest a lot into Warlock, the maximum I’d consider is 9 levels. Mystic Arcanum is somewhat weaker than standard spellcasting, and your pact magic doesn’t scale as much as it used to.
Put more in if you’d like, of course! I’m not your Patron.
Warlock Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Meh? A Hexblade might like access to Rage every now and then, but breaking concentration and losing spellcasting kinda stinks in most cases.
- Bard: Good utility spells to counteract the aggressive Warlock spell list. Solid skills, so you don’t need to spend spells as much. Not bad.
- Cleric: Warlocks and Clerics get along really well. Consider the Channel Divinity options for the Death Domain, or the Life Domain’s healing abilities, combined with Vampiric Touch. It’s usually worth the Wisdom.
- Druid: In most cases, Clerics do what Druids want to do but better; Wild Shape takes too much dedication, and Circles are level 3. Druids take too much dedication, unless you want your Wild Shape to be just a small health shield.
- Fighter: Action surge is a friend to any caster. So is self-healing, better armor and weapon options, and Fighting Styles for Hexblades.
- Monk: Takes too much Wisdom.
- Paladin: Does somebody want Divine Smite that refreshes on every short rest? Of course you do.
- Ranger: Warlocks don’t want to be wise! That’s their Familiar’s job.
- Rogue: The extra action economy of the Rogue is great, and sneak attack can be good for Eldritch Blast or Hexblade. Decent choice.
- Sorcerer: Really, really good spell synergy. And Warlocks love metamagic.
- Wizard: You get some of the utility of a Wizard, and the ability to regain some spell slots. That’s good for casting Hex… But not too much more.
|Level 1 Proficiencies||—|
And finally, the big W, the Spellbook Supreme itself… The Wizard.
This is a rough class to archetype for one reason; Wizards need high Intelligence. They are actually the only class that needs high intelligence. That puts them at a slight disadvantage, since it’s hard to multiclass when your highest statistic isn’t really needed elsewhere.
That’s not to say it’s a useless multiclass option. As usual – and say it with me now – Spellcaster levels are good. The Wizard is the apex spellcaster, able to write down a seemingly infinite number of spells. This is the most versatile spellcaster in the game. Even if you cut down it’s levels, it can still learn a ridiculous number of spells… Though do remember, you can’t have spells of a higher level than your Wizard levels let you know.
Arcane Recovery is pretty restrictive if you don’t plan on investing in much Wizardry. At worst, you regain one 1st-level spell slot. That’s somewhat mediocre, but not horrific.
At level 2, you get your build path. Bladesinger could be good if you plan on being a frontliner; Stack your Intelligence Bonus with Unarmored Defense of a Monk or Barbarian, and you could get staggering amounts of AC. War Mage is primarily useful for Tactical Wit, and later on, Power Surge. The other traditions offer great utility abilities and casting augmentations, suited for mostly caster multiclassing. In almost all of those traditions, you don’t benefit too much for wielding a greatsword.
And… That’s kind of it. Wizards only improve by Ability Scores and the features of their arcane tradition until level 18. Spell Mastery is pretty decent, though doesn’t synergize with multiclassing all that well.
Studying from spellbooks benefit you most with 2 levels of dedication. If you want really good spells to spend your multiclass spell slots with, feel free to continue putting levels into Wizard, but be warned; you won’t get much more than good magic.
Wizard Multiclassing Options
- Barbarian: Why is the wizard anywhere near the dangerous part of the fight? Get him out of there! Rage isn’t going to be the way a Wizard wants to spend their turn.
- Bard: The stat spread isn’t worth the casting list. Wizards have great support spells already.
- Cleric: Suddenly, the Wizard can wear heavy armor, use Arcane Recovery to recast Cure Wounds at 9th level during emergencies, and can Channel Divinity for any effect he pleases. Not bad.
- Druid: Dogs have trouble throwing fireballs. Cleric does this multiclass thing better.
- Fighter: Remember Sorcerer/Fighter? Spellcasters adore Action Surge.
- Monk: Using Wisdom for Cleric spells? That’s fine. Monks require too much investment and too much Wisdom to be a realistic option
- Paladin: Divine Smite is pretty worthwhile, and you get a quick way to get into Medium Armor. You should probably try to be a Cleric instead, but this isn’t bad.
- Ranger: Meh. Favored Enemy isn’t great for you, and Wizards don’t use weapons, so Fighting styles aren’t useful. Not worth the Wisdom.
- Rogue: The action economy can be nice, but Sneak Attack is usually wasted, and you have teleports to get where you need to be.
- Sorcerer: Metamagic is so nice for Wizard spells! It’s a shame it scales so slowly, because the Charisma is pretty bad for you, and you don’t want to spend too many levels in a single casting class.
- Warlock: Lots of first level spell slots, a really great cantrip, and the Patron Boons, for the cost of 13 Charisma… That’s usually okay. Not great, but usually okay.
Concluding our Multiclassing 5E Guide
And that’s that! This isn’t an in-depth look at the synergies of every class with each other… But it wasn’t supposed to be. Some tips, if you’re looking for synergies…
- Find classes with similar stat prerequisites. If you have high Charisma because you’re a Paladin, a Sorcerer will be more effective than a Wizard.
- Don’t be afraid to only put a few levels into a class! Your 2 levels in Fighter won’t be lonely; they don’t need 6 more just to be comfortable, if you don’t need them.
- Try to cover your weaknesses! A Ranger who specializes in Melee weapons might want to take Cleric for ranged cantrips, and some healing, for example.
That’s all for our Multiclassing 5E Guide! Happy multiclassing!