Monday, July 25, 2016

Multi-Classing for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other Old School Fantasy Games

Continuing the last post's theme of giving more character options within the framework of LotFP specifically, today we'll be talking about multi-classing rules.

I have suggested before an idea for hybrid classes that worked reasonably well, but they still wound up in many ways being too inflexible for what I wanted them to do. They still make for a nice base upon which to build custom classes, but today we're doing something different.

Multi-Classing for LotFP

Creating a multi-classed character is relatively simple. Any two classes can mix, with the following exceptions
  • Classes with opposite alignment requirements (you can't as a character have multiple alignments)
  • Racial classes cannot mix with other racial classes (No multi-classed Halfling/Dwarfs)
  • Spell-casting classes cannot mix (no multi-classed magic-user/clerics, magic-user/elves, or cleric/elves)
After two classes are chosen, you can figure out the combined features as follows:
  • The character gets all of the class-features of both classes (advancing AB, combat options, skills, spell slots, or other special abilities).
  • The XP for each level is the combined total of both classes. (A Fighter/Magic-User would cost (2,000+2,250) 4,250xp to get to level 2.
  • The HD and Saving Throws are the worst of the two classes. Add up the first level saving throws and choose the set with the worst (read: highest total, as lower is better). If they are equal the player may choose which set they would prefer but may not switch at any time.

Multi-Classing After Character Creation.

Characters can optionally choose a second class after character creation, but the road is a difficult one. The character's advancement in their main class is frozen, but advancement continues using their current XP track until the other class has caught up. Each time they would have leveled up their primary class, they instead level up their secondary class and then drop back down to the bare minimum amount of XP required to be the current level in their current class.

A level 6 fighter has a minimum of 36,000xp and needs 64,000xp to get to level 7. They decide to multi-class into specialist. Each time they would hit 64,000xp, they gain 1 level of specialist and are dropped back down to 36,000xp until they are level 6 in both fighter and specialist, at which point they continue advancing as a normal multi-classed character.   

The character gains all the benefits of the secondary class as a normal multi-classed character as described above. HD are determined by the lesser class each level. If the primary class has the smaller HD (a Specialist who is now multi-classing into Fighter), they can re-roll their HP each level and take the new result if higher, but may not add additional dice until that class advances. If the HD of the secondary class is the lower, then they may roll the secondary classes's HD as they gain it, but will not increase their HP until the secondary class's roll is better than their primary.

Our level 6 fighter has a statistically low 30HP, normally rolling 1d8 per level. Each time they gain a level of specialist, they may roll their specialist's HD (1d6 per level), but won't increase their HP at all until the roll on the specialist's HD is greater than 30 (after Con mods).

Saves are determined in a similar fashion. If the primary class has worse saves than the secondary, then saves are simply frozen until the character continues advancing as normal. If the secondary class has worse saves, then the character's saves don't improve until the secondary class's saves are better than their current saves, at which point the new saves are recorded. 

Multi-classing a character is a big deal, mechanically and requires significant sacrifice. This is even more pronounced if the shift comes later in a character's career. Between multi-classing and lateral advancement, however, I now feel fairly confident that I can create more or less whatever I could want inside of the LotFP framework without having to push for a classless style system as is sort of popular at the moment.

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