“What are you playing tonight?” my party asked as I set a bulging tote bag on the table.
“A Barbarian,” I said, smiling.
“So what’s the ukulele for?”
Dungeons & Dragons’ Fifth Edition made multiclassing much easier than previous editions. Too easy, in fact. One summer evening my Dungeon Master (DM) and I took this to its logical conclusion: “Could you take a level in every class?”
I filed this in the Bag of Holding marked “never going to happen.” Then one of the players in my regular group, frustrated by waiting months for high-level features, offered to DM a one-shot adventure with 15th-level characters. “And yes,” she said, “You need to multiclass in everything.”
So was born Maxwell Minimus, the Everyman, a Frankenstein of a character with at least one level in every player class. I haven’t multiclassed a character since.
Here’s a practical guide to multiclassing in everything.*
*As a note, this guide is based on the Player’s Handbook and excludes additional races or subclasses from Volo’s Guide to Monsters or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
What else but human? A +1 to every stat gives them the highest total starting bonus in the game, and we don’t need to be specific to any one stat.
In order to take a level in a given class, we need at least a 13 in its primary stat – Charisma for Warlocks and Sorcerors, Dexterity for Rogues and so on. For this build, we need a 13 in everything except, oddly, Constitution. Using a point buy instead of the standard array we can afford a stat block of 11-12-13-13-13-13. Adding the racial bonus, we have just what we need, if we put the 12 in Constitution. I left the 13 in Intelligence, since most of the level 1 spells that use that stat arcane casters are focused on utility instead of attacks or saving throws.
Keep in mind that ability score improvements are fourth-level class features. With 15 levels to work with and 12 classes to cover, we won’t ever get one. Settle in, friends – this is us for life.
The character we’re building has literally no special skills comparative to other adventurers at this level. I figure the most likely way for someone in the general medieval fantasy setting of D&D to get that way is to come from privilege, so Noble it is. This also leaves us with the most starting wealth to work with.
For a one-shot, starting equipment is a pretty fluid option; often it doesn’t even come up unless you can find a clever, oddball use for it the DM might like. In either case, you’re best off taking the starting money rather than an equipment pack, especially since you’ll need a variety of components and focuses for the spell-casting classes.
Here’s the full class list for a level 15 all-class build, given in order of acquisition. The subclass options are given in italics. I’ve chosen the order and subclasses for the utility of their low-level features, and for the maximum number of skill proficiencies possible. Notice that I’ve taken the non-casters first and the casters second, with Wizard being first of the latter group.
- Monk 3, Way of the Open Hand: This subclass provides bonuses to attacks with finesse weapons, making your Dexterity-based attacks just as viable as Strength. Also, as it turned out, Dashing as a bonus action was the most useful thing I could do.
- Barbarian 1: You’d think that you should start with the Barbarian to get the maximum possible hit points out of that d12 hit die, but the class comes with almost no starting skill proficiencies. Besides, hit points in this build mostly come from the Druid levels.
- Fighter 1: Take the dueling style. Considering your Barbarian features, it’s most likely you’ll be weilding a single weapon, and the other fighting styles conflict with Unarmored Defense.
- Paladin 1: Lay on Hands and Sense Evil and Good add some much-needed healing and utility to the build, but it’s not worth sinking another level into this class for the Oath features.
- Ranger 1: Unfortunately this class’ features overlap almost completely with Fighter. But hey, we said every class.
- Rogue 1: A little bit of rogue makes everything better. Always double your expertise in Perception if you can – it’s by far the most common check at the tables I’ve played at.
- Wizard 1: Whereas subsequent classes allow you to take spells of levels for which you have slots, wizards get six level one spells as part of the “Spellbook” feature and must add them from there. Taking this level first means you can add spells of higher levels through other spellcasting features.
- Bard 1, College of Valor: As a caster we’re pretty pitiful – not enough levels – so we’d get more use out of the College of Valor, which lets you use the Bardic Inspiration die for almost every kind of roll in the game.
- Druid 2, Circle of the Moon: Again, choose the option that provides benefits other than to spellcasting features. Since we’re limited to low-level creatures, Wild Shape amounts to temporary hit points as a bonus action, making it an ideal improvement to the whole stack.
- Warlock 1, Pact of the Great Old One: This pact provided some really interesting synergies. The Enlightened Mind feature will give us the option to communicate telepathically even while in Wild Shape; my DM even agreed to consider this the verbal component of spells (not what I would have done, but the DM’s always right).
- Note that Pact Magic is a different feature than Spellcasting, substituting a small number of increasingly-powerful spells for higher-level slots, and so does not contribute to the total count of levels used to calculate your spell slots.
- Cleric 1, War Domain: Since most of our levels are frontline melee fighters, we’ll get the most use out of the War Domain’s level one feature, War Priest. This gives us the option to attack as a bonus action, which stands in for the multi-attack feature.
- Sorceror 1, Wild Magic origin: I have two reasons for choosing this origin. One, the single luck point is the most generally helpful feature available in the Sorceror class. Two, rolling on the Wild Magic table is one of my favorite things in the game.
Every spellcasting class has the option to just add a number of cantrips to your list, and there’s no restriction on the number of total number of cantrips you can know. Always pick the class’ signature cantrips – Vicious Mockery for Bard, Sacred Flame for Cleric, Mage Hand for Wizard, and so on.
Choose spells whose damage scales with your character level and utility spells. Your save is too low to do any real damage, so focus on ways to mess up everyone’s life. Some highlights include Ice Knife from the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, Hellish Rebuke, and Sanctuary. Here’s the full list I chose, in alphabetical order:
Absorb Elements, Armor of Agathys, Blade Ward, Control Flames, Cure Wounds, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Druidcraft, Eldritch Blast, Expeditious Retreat, Faerie Fire, Feather Fall, Fog Cloud, Friends, Guiding Bolt, Gust, Healing Word, Hellish Rebuke, Heroism, Ice Knife, Jump, Longstrider, Mage Armor, Mage Hand, Magic Missile, Magic Stone, Mold Earth, Resistance, Sacred Flame, Sanctuary, Shape Water, Shield, Spare the Dying, Thorn Whip, Thunderwave, Vicious Mockery
It’s spreadsheets all the way down! In order to make sure I wouldn’t forget a feature or modifier in this most hectic of games, I created an Excel sheet that listed:
- Actions available on my turn, divided by action, bonus action, and reaction.
- Attack and damage bonuses: For example, Barbarian Rage only applies a bonus to Strength-based melee weapon attacks, and most Monk features apply to unarmed strikes.
- Spell lists: The sheer number of spells available at this level makes them difficult to manage. My table marked the spells as concentration or not, and by their attack bonus or save DC. Many of the classes base these numbers on different stats, and we have a lower Intelligence modifier.
- Wild Shape options. A list of beasts by Challenge Rating is available directly from Wizards of the Coast, and I marked off the ones with a swimming or flying speed.
If you’d like to see these spreadsheets, I’ll release them on Google Drive – let me know using the tweet below!
Hey SparkOtter, I need those spreadsheets so I can multiclass in everything!Click to Tweet
In terms of game mechanics, this character was a total failure. This is literally the worst idea. My attack bonuses weren’t high enough to land a hit, and my spell DCs were too low to compel epic-tier monsters. I ended up juggling ki points and Wild Shapes to put pressure on the dragon we were fighting, in order to leave space for the well-built characters in the group.
From a roleplaying standpoint, on the other hand, the character was a roaring success. The night of the one-shot, I showed with my tote bag full of props, ranging from a big furry hat to wear during Barbarian rages to a ukulele for inspiring the party. I had a spectacular time copying other players’ turns, and they had a great time doing their things better. Shout out to our Bard for turning me into a T-rex so I could bite the dragon. I love D&D.
And of course, I added a tragic backstory. A high-level wizard abducted Maxwell from his quiet life at the monastery in an effort to craft the perfect adventurer. The poor man’s continual failures meant that about once a year, the wizard would recall him, wipe his memory, and send him out to adventure in a different discipline. The result of the process is a man who can only remember certain years of his life while using the skills he acquired during them.
What do you think? Do you agree with my choices, or would you have built this character a little differently? Let me know in the comments, and tell me if there’s a rules lawyer or a power gamer in your group who would enjoy the challenge!
How did you get third level spells like Counterspell when your highest arcane caster level was 2 (hence only first level spells)?!
Actually I misread. Your highest arcane caster level was ONE. Same problem.
Good point – I misunderstood the “spells of a level for which you have slots” language. Updated list above!
I don’t see what three levels of monk bring to the table. Wouldn’t it be better to take two levels in Warlock for invocations to boost eldritch blast? Eldritch blast (and other cantrips) scales with character level, so you won’t be held back by lack of class features like extra attack. You’d still have the issue of only having 14 charisma and thus a low spell attack though. I’d also guess that as many caster levels as possible would be a good idea to get spell slot progression.
Magic missile could be a winner since it auto-hits.
My cousin played one of every class from level 1 to 12 as a variant human with the lucky feat. We rolled for stats, so after racial all his stats were 14-18. We all thought it wouldn’t really work at all, but it actually worked surprisingly well, considering. Only first level spells and cantrips, no action surge or divine smite, a horrible amalgamation that somehow worked. It was great! He took Paladin first and Monk last, and I can’t remember the order in between. Rolling stats rather than point buy definitely helped though.
Just found this, as I had also tried this experiment. Admittedly I had to remove the multi-class stat requirement for this to work, but my DM figured ‘yeah, you’re handicapped enough as it is,’ so…
Instead of putting any points (at all) into STR/DEX I just took Hexblade warlock and made CHA my primary stat. I gave 3 levels in Artifice for the Armorer subclass so I could wear heavy armor (plus infusions) and give my weapon whatever damage boosts I could find. Not like I ever wound up using weapons, mind you. I basically just spent the whole fight using Eldritch blast and hiding behind my shield.
As for the roleplay, I didn’t consider what you did. Not bad. I just acted as though I was half-assing everything I did, like a severe case of ADHD. Though it did give me an excuse to have my character take off his top hat, unbutton his shirt about half way and say, “Excuse me, gentlemen, for it is time to rage. Rar.”
Always a fun experiment to do but would not recommend it for any serious players XD
I love that idea – cripplingly distractable! Hexblade and Artificer definitely make a build like this a lot more viable.