Older editions of the game handled multiclassing much differently, and as a result triple-class characters were not only viable, in many cases they were significantly stronger than single-class characters. There’s good reason to move away from the way that rules edition handled the concept, but it does mean the fighter/magic-user/thief (a staple, especially for elves and half-elves) ceases to be an effective, easy class to build, and that’s kind of a shame.
However, with the advent of hybrid classes (from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide), there’s no reason a balanced, fun and effective f/m-u/t can’t be re-introduced into the game. It just needs some creative application of the design rules, some way to avoid the pitfalls such multi-focus characters often suffer, and some careful balancing. Such an effort is presented below. (And I did something similar with the cavalier-paladin, some time ago, if you want to look at that.)
For extra flavor, a GM might consider limiting the class to half-elves. 😀
A hybrid class.
Hit Die: d8
Parent Classes: Fighter, Rogue, Wizard
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
Class Skills: The fighter/magic-user/thief’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, each taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Level BaB Fort Ref Will 0th 1st 2nd 3rd Special
1 +0 +1 +1 +1 2 – – – Broad training
2 +1 +1 +1 +1 2 – – – Sneak attack +1 point, trapfinding
3 +2 +2 +2 +2 2 – – – Knack
4 +3 +2 +2 +2 2 0 – – School (1st)
5 +3 +3 +3 +3 3 1 – – Sneak attack +1d4
6 +4 +3 +3 +3 3 1 – – Knack
7 +5 +3 +3 +3 3 1 0 – Evasion
8 +6* +4 +4 +4 3 1 1 – Sneak attack +2d4
9 +6* +4 +4 +4 4 2 1 – Knack
10 +7* +5 +5 +5 4 2 1 0 Uncanny dodge
11 +8* +5 +5 +5 4 2 1 1 Sneak attack +3d4
12 +9* +5 +5 +5 4 2 2 1 Knack
13 +9* +6 +6 +6 4 3 2 1 Bravery +2
14 +10* +6 +6 +6 4 3 2 1 Sneak attack +4d4
15 +11* +7 +7 +7 4 3 2 2 Knack
16 +12* +7 +7 +7 4 3 3 2 School (6th/8th)
17 +12* +7 +7 +7 4 4 3 2 Sneak attack +5d4
18 +13* +8 +8 +8 4 4 3 2 Knack
19 +14* +8 +8 +8 4 4 3 3 Improved uncanny dodge
20 +15* +9 +9 +9 4 4 4 3 Sneak attack +6d4
*The fighter/magic-user/thief receives iterative attacks as normal, the chart does not show them to simply presentation
Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and light and medium armor. Because all your fighter/magic-user/thief spells are considered to have the Still Spell feat (see “Spells,” below), you can ignore arcane spell failure.
Spells: You casts spells drawn from the wizard spells list, and keep a spellbook, learn and prepare spells like a wizard, and gains 2 new spells known of a level you can cast at each new class level . Your caster level is equal to your class level. All your spells automatically gain the benefit of the Still Spell feat, allowing you to cast spells in armor without dealing with arcane spell failure and while wielding 2-handed weapons.
Because of your training in methods of combat and the ways of stealth and subterfuge, your spells are powered less by how smart you are than by how nimble you are. You use Dexterity to determine what level spell you can cast, your spells’ save DCs and bonus spells, and any calculation that uses Intelligence in a spell (or your school, see below) is instead calculated using your Dexterity.
Broad Training: You are considered to have a base attack bonus of +1, the ability to cast 1st level spells, and 1d6 of sneak attack, for purposes of meeting prerequisites and drawing a weapon as part of a move action when moving. You treat your class level as your fighter level, rogue level, and wizard level when meeting prerequisites including feat prerequisites). If this is your favored class, you can take a racial favored class bonus for fighter, rogue, or wizard at each level. Although you do not have the armor training or weapon training class features, for purposes of prerequisites you are treated as having them if a fighter with a level equal to your class level had them (and of having them with the same bonus as a fighter of your class level when calculations use that information). For weapon training, you also select weapon groups it would have applied to, if you had it, for use with the Advanced Weapon Training feat, even though you do not actually gain the normal bonuses from weapon training with those groups.
Sneak Attack: As the rogue class feature, except when you first gain this ability it deals only +1 point of damage (though it qualifies for any sneak attack talent you select with your knack). This increases to +1d4 at 5th level, and by an additional 1d4 every 3 levels thereafter.
Trapfinding: As the rogue class feature.
Knack: At 3rd level, and every 3 level thereafter, you gain a bonus combat feat, a bonus metamagic feat, a bonus item creation feat, or a rogue talent. You must meet the selection’s prerequisites, and have any relevant class feature it modifies. Each time you gain a new knack, you may choose to learn a new knack in place of a knack you have already learned. In effect, you lose the knack in exchange for the new one. The knack cannot be one that was used as a prerequisite for another feat, prestige class, or other ability. You can only change one knack at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the knack at the time you gain a new knack for the level.
School: At 4th level, you select one wizard school. You are not considered specialized in the associated school, and you to not pick opposition schools—this has no effect on how many spells per day you can prepare or your chance to learn spells of various schools. You do, however, gain the abilities from this school that a wizard gains at 1st level. Your class level acts as your wizard level for any calculations of these abilities.
At 16th level, you also gain any abilities from the school that a wizard would have by 8th level (regardless of what level the wizard would have gained them, if it is before 8th level).
Evasion: At 7th level you gain evasion, as the rogue class feature. It functions if you are in no armor, light armor, or medium armor.
Uncanny Dodge: At 10th level you gain uncanny dodge, as the rogue class feature. At 19th level this upgrades to improved uncanny dodge. Both functions if you are in no armor, light armor, or medium armor.
Bravery: At 13th level your gain bravery, as the fighter class feature, with a flat +2 bonus.
Speaking of Old school Ideas
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It’s become something of a joke among my friends and online followers that when I am suffering from massive sleep deprivation, or am on powerful narcotic painkillers, or both, I tend to be more creative in my online writing. I think some of this is the killing of my internal censor, that often squelches ideas before they have a chance to grow. It’s also been suggested that these ideas may be the fleeting flashes of inspiration I’m always having, but must postpone to be responsible and get my work done. Obviously when I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time and don’t trust my ability to do quality work, I tend not to worry about restricting myself to crucial projects.
So it is, tonight.
I had a flash of nostalgia tonight for the cavalier-paladin class from the days of Dragon Magazine. One of my early rpg experiences was playing a fighter in thrown-together night of gaming, where all the characters were competing in a tournament. Someone who became one of my very best friends played a cavalier-paladin who, despite my rolling something like 5 natural 20s in 10 rounds of combat, still kicked my ass. But she also decided my character was valiant and worthy, and the two PCs became good friends.
Just like the two players.
So most of the actual features of the cavalier-paladin aren’t things that would work well as a focus mechanic for a Pathfinder class. But in my mental haze, I decided I really wanted to create cavalier-paladin hybrid class, and one with very little “new” mechanical consideration. I expected to jot down some notes to maybe work on some other day. Instead, 30 minutes later it was done. (Writing this foreword has taken longer than writing the hybrid class rules.)
So I am proud to present the world’s first Hybrid Nostalgia Class: the cavalier-paladin.
A select, worthy few are called to be warriors for the divine, and seek to perfect their skill by dedicating themselves to an organization fighting for a cause. Though still entirely devoted to the service and justice and righteousness, these crusaders believe they can best serve as part of a larger whole. Known as cavalier-paladins, these fearless knights are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests, but also ceaselessly train to improve and inspire others. The cavalier-paladin’s power comes from adherence to ironclad laws of morality and discipline, the conviction of her ideals, the oaths that she swears, and the divine power to smite the wicked.
Role: Cavalier-paladins serve as beacons for their allies within the chaos of battle, marshalling allied forces and controlling the flow of the fight. While deadly opponents of evil, outside of battle cavalier-paladins can be found advancing their cause through diplomacy and, if needed, intrigue. Their magical and martial skills also make them well suited to defending others and blessing the fallen with the strength to continue fighting.
Alignment: Lawful good
Hit Die: d10
Parent Classes: Cavalier and paladin
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The cavalier-paladin’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Order: Abilities from her order that state they function when a cavalier of the order is using her challenge ability instead function when the cavalier-paladin is using smite evil.
Every cavalier-paladin follows a paladin code (either the standard code from the base paladin class, or a special code determined by the deity the cavalier-paladin worships). A cavalier-paladin must select an order that has edicts that do not violate the paladin’s code. If a cavalier-paladin violates her code, she loses all cavalier-paladin spells and class features (including the service of the cavalier-paladin’s mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a cavalier-paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.
If a cavalier-paladin violates the edicts of her order without violating her paladin code, she loses the smite evil benefits from her order, and all order abilities (though not the order’s skill benefits) for 24 hours.
Divine Bond: If the cavalier-paladin selects a weapon bonus, initially enhancing the weapon only causes it to shed light as a torch and count as a magic weapon for those purposes where a magic weapon functions differently than a mundane weapon (such as bypassing DR). Beginning at 5th level, the weapon bond functions normally.
If she selects a bonded mount, this works normally as the paladin option.
Spells: Beginning at 8th level, a cavalier-paladin gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells which are drawn from the paladin spell list. A cavalier-paladin must choose and prepare her spells in advance.
To prepare or cast a spell, a cavalier-paladin must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a cavalier-paladin’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the paladin’s Charisma modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a cavalier-paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Cavalier-Paladin. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). When Table: Cavalier-Paladin indicates that the cavalier-paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level.
A cavalier-paladin must spend 1 hour each day in quiet prayer and meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. A cavalier-paladin may prepare and cast any spell on the paladin spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.
Through 7th level, a cavalier-paladin has no caster level. At 8th level and higher, her caster level is equal to half her cavalier-paladin level. Unlike a paladin, a cavalier-paladin never gains 4th level spells.
Bonus Feat: The cavalier-paladin gets a single bonus feat at 6th level. No additional bonus feats are gained every 6 levels thereafter.