Thread: Multiclass Loses Spell Slots?
In a way, it's worse than you think, because you are not supposed to add slots, but spellcasting levels. So, if a 7th level Paladin is supposed to be like a 4th level full caster, you should then add the sorcerer level to get a 5th level full caster, who has 2 extra 3rd level slots than a Sorcerer 1/Paladin 7 gets.
The problem, of course, is that, for some reason, though half-caster levels are actually rounded up when they are single-classed, for some reason WotC decided to have their levels rounded down if they multiclass (except for the artificer, who still rounds up)
So, bottom line, as long as you multiclass your half-caster at even levels, you are not losing any slots.
Also, though I think it's hard to calculate the actual value of it, your multi-classing rule would have a Bard 5/Druid 5/Sorcerer 5/Cleric 5 having 16 first level slots, 12 second level slots and 9 third level slots, for a total of 37 slots, while the regular multi-classing rules would have it with 22 slots, as many slots as a single classed 20th level character.
You would use the rules for Multiclass Spellcasting.
The Multiclass Spellcasting rules state (PHB, p. ):
You determine your available spell slots by adding together all your levels in the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard classes, half your levels (rounded down) in the paladin and ranger classes, and a third of your fighter or rogue levels (rounded down) if you have the Eldritch Knight or the Arcane Trickster feature. Use this total to determine your spell slots by consulting the Multiclass Spellcaster table.
The multiclassing rules for the artificer class are not included there, since the class was not published in the PHB. However, the artificer class description includes an "Optional Rule: Multiclassing" section, which states (E:RftLW, p. 54; WGtE, p. ):
Spell Slots. Add half your levels (rounded up) in the artificer class to the appropriate levels from other classes to determine your available spell slots.
So in the case of your example, your spellcaster level is 8. Therefore, you would have four 1st-level spell slots, three 2nd-level slots, three 3rd-level slots, and two 4th-level slots.
I got eight from 3 levels in wizard + ((5 levels in Fighter with Eldritch Knight + 4 levels in Rogue with Arcane Trickster) over 3) + (4 levels in Paladin over 2). That's 3 + (9/3) + (4/2) or 3 + 3 + 2.
The Multiclass Spellcaster table is reproduced below:
Thus far, all of our spell slots are essentially combined into a single shared pool of slots. None of them are class-specific, but they can be used by all of your classes. You regain these spell slots on a long rest according to each of the Spellcasting features. This does still allow you to use features like the Wizard's Arcane Recovery to gain some back on a short rest (in this case, either one 2nd-level slot or two 1st-level slots).
Also note that this does not change what spells you can learn/know or have prepared; that is determined as if you were a single-classed member of each of those classes. In other words, you separately add spells to your spellbook (and prepare spells from it) as a level 3 wizard, have the known spells of a level 5 Eldritch Knight, have the known spells of a level 4 Arcane Trickster, prepare spells as a level 4 Paladin, and have the known spells of a level 4 Warlock. See this Q&A for more details: If I multiclass into 2 or more spellcasting classes, how do I determine my known/prepared spells?
Notice that you add the Fighter and Rogue levels before dividing them. Otherwise you would be a level 7 spellcaster. (Opinions vary on the order of operations here; see this Q&A for more details: How do paladin and ranger class levels add up for multiclass spellcasting?)
Also, if you were less than level 3 in either Fighter or Rogue, you would not have the subclass that grants you the Spellcasting feature, making you a level 6 spellcaster. The same applies if you were only level 1 in Paladin.
But what about my Warlock levels?
The same section on Multiclass Spellcasting also says this about Pact Magic:
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.
What this essentially means is that these slots are completely independent of the rest. They are not affected by the rest of your levels. You can however, still cast your Warlock spells with the slots from your Wizard, Fighter, Rogue, and Paladin classes and you can use your Warlock spell slots (which recover on a short rest!) to cast your spells from those classes. They're separate but compatible.
So your total number of spell slots, after adding in your 4 levels in Warlock (which according to the Warlock Table gives you 2 second level spell slots) are 4 first level spell slots, 5 second level slots, 3 third level slots, and 2 fourth level slots. And two of those second level slots recover on a short rest.
Special note: Eldritch Smite is only works with Warlock slots
András originally posted the following answer to the Q&A Can a multiclassed warlock expend a Spellcasting spell slot of a non-warlock class to use the Eldritch Smite invocation?, but I wanted to add it here for the sake of completeness:
Only warlock spell slots from the Pact Magic feature can be expended to use Eldritch Smite; spell slots from the Spellcasting feature do not work with it.
An unofficial tweet by rules designer Jeremy Crawford in November confirms that this was intentional (unlike the paladin's Divine Smite, which had similar wording initially but was changed in errata later to work with any spell slot):
Talking about Eldritch Smite; can you only use Warlock spell slots to power it, or can you use any slot (à la Divine Smite)? The RAW on it specifies Warlock slots.
Eldritch Smite works with warlock spell slots only—the ones you get from Pact Magic.
Judging by the similar wording, we can assume the same applies to the following other Eldritch Invocations: Bewitching Whispers, Dreadful Word, Minions of Chaos, Sculptor of Flesh, Sign of Ill Omen, and Thief of Five Fates.
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I am constantly seeing confusion about how multiclassed spellcasting works, and I am constantly frustrated to see people who have no idea how it works offering up incorrect garbage as though it is incontrovertible fact. It’s about high time this was properly elaborated.
Don’t forget to also check out our article Multiclassing Like A Pro, which offers helpful advice about multiclassing!
So, you have decided to multiclass. Congratulations! You have entered a whole new dimension of customizing your character, one with a long and storied history dating back many editions. Oh, and you’ve chosen to branch into a second spellcasting class? You’re in for some fun times, for sure!
Unfortunately, with more customization comes more rules, and some of the most complex rules are those surrounding how to handle multiclass spellcasting. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently misunderstood systems in the game, one that even veteran players get wrong. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for help. Here are the points to remember.
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Spell Slots are Calculated and Shared Between All Spellcasting Classes
The Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page of the Player’s Handbook gives you the total number of spell slots you have. The number is based on your total spellcaster level, which is calculated using the following steps taken from page
- Add together all your levels in the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard classes;
- Add half your levels (rounded down) in the paladin and ranger classes; and
- Add one third of your levels (rounded down) in the Eldritch Knight (fighter) or Arcane Trickster (rogue) classes
For example, if you are a 5th-level Eldritch Knight, a 7th-level Arcane Trickster, and a 2nd-level wizard, you count as a 5th-level multiclass spellcaster. If you are a 5th-level paladin and a 11th-level cleric, you count as a 13th-level multiclass spellcaster. If you are a 16th-level wizard and a 1st-level cleric, you count as a 17th-level multiclass spellcaster.
Editors Note: CorvinusRex pointed out in the comments that Jeremy Crawford’s interpretation of the so-called orders of operation of multiclassing would involve adding up the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickers levels before dividing them by 3, so that the first above example would actually be a 6th-level multiclass spellcaster [((5 + 7) ÷ 3, rounded down) + 2] instead of a 5th-level multiclass spellcaster [(5 ÷ 3, rounded down) + (7 ÷ 3, rounded down) + 2]. I can see the merit for both interpretations, but the decision of which to use should fall to the dungeon master. There are just as many mathematical and narrative reasons to retard the progress of spellcasters who split their focus this way as there are reasons for it to work as JC envisions.
Note that warlock levels are not included above, as the Pact Magic feature functions differently (see below).
You Know And Prepare Spells Based On Each Class
This is the point where most people go wrong. According to page , when you are determining which spells you can learn or preparing a list of spells, you treat each class separately, completely ignoring the multiclass spellcasting section entirely. If you have one level of druid, it doesn’t matter how many other spellcasting levels you have, you prepare druid spells as though you were a 1st-level druid.
Note that this also means that, when you gain a level in a spellcasting class, you will also gain access to cantrips available to that class at that level. Only the spell slots you gain are shared between all spellcasting classes.
Each Spellcasting Class Has Its Own Spellcasting Ability
If you are a 1st-level wizard and a 1st-level cleric, you use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability for wizard spells and Wisdom as your spellcasting ability for cleric spells, as though you were a single-class spellcaster for each of those classes. You do not get to cast your wizard spells using your Wisdom as the spellcasting ability.
You Will Probably Get Higher Level Spell Slots Than You Have Spells
Say that you are a 4th-level druid who gains a level in cleric. According to the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page of the Player’s Handbook, you have access to 3rd-level spell slots. However, the Druid table on page 65 of the Player’s Handbook shows that a 4th-level druid does not have 3rd-level spell slots. Therefore, to prepare a spell like call lightning, the character would have to take another level of druid.
This does not mean that such a character cannot use their 3rd-level spell slot. Once they have prepared their spells, they can cast a prepared spell at a higher level following all the normal rules found on page of the Player’s Handbook. For example, if they prepared the 1st-level druid spell cure wounds, they could cast it using their 3rd-level spell slot.
What’s the Deal with Warlocks?
Unlike other spellcasting classes, which have the Spellcasting class feature, warlocks have something called Pact Magic. You do not add your warlock level to your other levels when determining how many spell slots you have on the Multiclass Spellcaster table. Instead, the spell slots granted by Pact Magic are in addition to the ones granted by Spellcasting. What’s really cool about this is that you can use spell slots granted by Pact Magic to cast spells from another spellcasting class, and vice versa. Also, given that all of their spell slots are of the same level, and that level gets higher as you advance in warlock levels, taking some levels as a warlock can be a very appealing option for some multiclass characters.
For example, if you are a 2nd-level wizard who takes a level in warlock, you gain the 1st-level warlock’s spell slot in addition to your three spell slots for being a 1st-level wizard, meaning that you have four 1st-level spell slots. You would not gain a 2nd-level spell slot as you would if you had taken another level in a class with the Spellcasting feature.
Don’t Trust Everything You Read Online
One of the most wonderful things about this day and age is that people can communicate about confusing things quite easily. Of course, this also means that many people who think they know what they’re talking about get to put incorrect information into the public knowledge. For example, Mythcreants put out an article a while back claiming that a 17th-level wizard/1st-level cleric multiclassed spellcaster could prepare 9th-level cleric spells. Their fallacious explanation went as follows:
Page of the mutliclassing rules states: “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single classed member of that class.”
It then gives an example of wizard/ranger, neither of which prepares spells like a cleric does.
Back on page 54 of the cleric class rules, after explaining how you choose a list of cleric spells to be able to cast, the book reads “the spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.”
Note that it does not say “cleric spell slots.”
Then back on page “You determine your available spell slots by adding together all your levels of bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard…”
So when you’re preparing your spells as a first level cleric, you can pick spells of any level for which you have slots, which in this case will be levels because when you combine your class levels together, those are the slots available to you for casting.
Now, this honestly frustrates me. It frustrates me because the folks over at Mythcreants have demonstrated that they are clearly capable of reading, and yet it seems to me that they have consciously gone out of their way to display the least degree of reading comprehension imaginable. In their attempt to justify such egregious, shameful rule-breaking, they have completely and utterly disregarded the very first words in the Spells Known and Prepared subsection of the multiclassed spellcasting write-up, which I will quote again for emphasis:
You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class.
The fact that they themselves quoted this makes it even worse, but I will endeavour to move on before I give myself an aneurysm.
Remember the example above with the 4th-level druid who had access to a 3rd-level spell slot due to their multiclassing choice, but couldn’t prepare 3rd-level druid spells? The exact same rules apply here. Just as the multiclassed druid counted only as a druid for the purpose of preparing druid spells, so does the cleric in the example the folks at Mythcreants have conceived. In other words: according to the rules on page 57 of the Player’s Handbook, that character can only prepare a number of 1st-level cleric spells equal to their Wisdom modifier + their cleric level. If they have a Wisdom score of 16, that means they can prepare four 1st-level cleric spells. Ill say again: 1st-level cleric spells.
Now, once those spells have been prepared, they can be cast using any available spell slot, just like the druid in our earlier example could do. Given that the character has 17 levels of wizard, that means that the 1st-level cleric spell could be cast using a 9th-level spell slot. This is the only time the previously-accumulated higher-level spell slots have any bearing whatsoever on the way that the character casts their cleric spells.
So, unfortunately for those who subscribe to Mythcreant University’s Power Gaming philosophy, their thesis is definitively incorrect. This is why it is important to read the rules carefully, and why you should never trust what you see on the internet (unless you see it here first, or it comes directly from the Mouth of God via Sage Advice).
I am a wizard 5/rogue 2 and I level up rogue to get arcane trickster. What benefit do I gain?
Becoming an arcane trickster officially qualifies you as a multiclass spellcaster. From this point forward, you determine your daily spell slots using the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page of the Player’s Handbook, rather than using the tables in either the wizard or the rogue class entries. You still use these tables to determine how many spells and cantrips you know, the maximum level spell you can know and prepare, and for every other feature of your class.
I am a wizard 2/cleric 2 and I want to take my next level in wizard. Do I get to learn fireball because I have 3rd-level spell slots?
No. You determine the spells you know and can prepare independently for each class, as though you were only in that class. When determining the wizard spells you can learn, you would count as a 3rd-level wizard and therefore would not have 3rd-level spell slots according to the Wizard table. Therefore, you can’t learn 3rd-level spells.
But I would have 3rd-level spell slots?
Correct. This means that you could cast a spell like magic missile at 3rd level, but you still couldn’t cast 3rd-level spells like lightning bolt or animate dead. Think of it this way: someone studying to be a particle physicist decides to branch out and learn some rocket science. He probably became a better mathematician, but he’s no better at particle physics specifically as a result of his cross-discipline studies.
I’m a 16th-level cleric and I want to take a level in wizard. Can I prepare wish?
No. As with all spellcasting classes, the cleric Spellcasting feature specifies that spells you learn or prepare “must be of a level for which you have spell slots”. Because multiclass spellcasters know and prepare spells for each class as though they were only that class, and 16th-level clerics do not have 9th-level spell slots according to the Cleric table, you cannot prepare wish. If somehow you find a spell scroll containing the wish spell, however, you could still attempt to cast it, but you would have to roll a spellcasting check as described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
I’m a sorcerer 5/warlock 2. How does this work?
Unlike sorcerers, wizards, clerics, etc., warlocks don’t have the Spellcasting feature and therefore do not count toward multiclass spellcasting. You determine the spells they know from their Spellcasting classes separately from the spells that they know from their Pact Magic feature. You can still use the spell slots gained from both features to cast spells from either class.
When I gain a new spellcasting class, do I also gain new cantrips?
If the new spellcasting class has cantrips, you gain new cantrips according to what is laid out in that class’ Spellcasting feature. You do not gain more cantrips in your existing spellcasting class. For example, a 9th-level wizard who gains a level in bard would learn two new bard cantrips. They would not learn another wizard cantrip because they are not a 10th-level wizard.
Some sources from the designers which support my explanations:
- Learning 3rd-level spells with a 2nd-level wizard.
- Copying vs. learning higher-level spells. (Note: the Player’s Handbook Errata later restricted copying spells into a wizard spellbook to spells that the wizard could prepare.)
- And last but not least, a Sage Advice that definitively supports my rebuttal to the folks at Mythcreants, who really need to revise or remove their misleading article.
Multiclassing allows you to gain levels in multiple classes. Doing so lets you mix the abilities of those classes to realize a character concept that might not be reflected in one of the standard class options.
With this rule, you have the option of gaining a level in a new class whenever you advance in level, instead of gaining a level in your current class. Your levels in all your classes are added together to determine your character level. For example, if you have three levels in wizard and two in fighter, you're a 5th-level character.
As you advance in levels, you might primarily remain a member of your original class with just a few levels in another class, or you might change course entirely, never looking back at the class you left behind. You might even start progressing in a third or fourth class. Compared to a single-class character of the same level, you'll sacrifice some focus in exchange for versatility.
To qualify for a new class, you must meet the ability score prerequisites for both your current class and your new one, as shown in the Multiclassing Prerequisites table. For example, a barbarian who decides to multiclass into the druid class must have both Strength and Wisdom scores of 13 or higher. Without the full training that a beginning character receives, you must be a quick study in your new class, having a natural aptitude that is reflected by higher-than-average ability scores.
|Class||Ability Score Minimum|
|Fighter||Strength 13 or Dexterity 13|
|Monk||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13|
|Paladin||Strength 13 and Charisma 13|
|Ranger||Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13|
The experience point cost to gain a level is always based on your total character level, as shown in the Character Advancement table, not your level in a particular class. So, if you are a cleric 6/fighter 1, you must gain enough XP to reach 8th level before you can take your second level as a fighter or your seventh level as a cleric.
Hit Points and Hit Dice
You gain the hit points from your new class as described for levels after 1st. You gain the 1st-level hit points for a class only when you are a 1st-level character.
You add together the Hit Dice granted by all your classes to form your pool of Hit Dice. If the Hit Dice are the same die type, you can simply pool them together. For example, both the fighter and the paladin have a d10, so if you are a paladin 5/fighter 5, you have ten d10 Hit Dice. If your classes give you Hit Dice of different types, keep track of them separately. If you are a paladin 5/cleric 5, for example, you have five d10 Hit Dice and five d8 Hit Dice.
Your proficiency bonus is always based on your total character level, not your level in a particular class. For example, if you are a fighter 3/rogue 2, you have the proficiency bonus of a 5th-level character, which is +3.
When you gain your first level in a class other than your initial class, you gain only some of new class's starting proficiencies, as shown in the Multiclassing Proficiencies table.
|Barbarian||Shields, simple weapons, martial weapons|
|Bard||Light armor, one skill of your choice, one musical instrument of your choice|
|Cleric||Light armor, medium armor, shields|
|Druid||Light armor, medium armor, shields (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)|
|Fighter||Light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons|
|Monk||Simple weapons, shortswords|
|Paladin||Light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons|
|Ranger||Light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons, one skill from the class's skill list|
|Rogue||Light armor, one skill from the class's skill list, thieves' tools|
|Warlock||Light armor, simple weapons|
When you gain a new level in a class, you get its features for that level. You don't, however, receive the class's starting equipment, and a few features have additional rules when you're multiclassing: Channel Divinity, Extra Attack, Unarmored Defense, and Spellcasting.
If you already have the Channel Divinity feature and gain a level in a class that also grants the feature, you gain the Channel Divinity effects granted by that class, but getting the feature again doesn't give you an additional use of it. You gain additional uses only when you reach a class level that explicitly grants them to you. For example, if you are a cleric 6/paladin 4, you can use Channel Divinity twice between rests because you are high enough level in the cleric class to have more uses. Whenever you use the feature, you can choose any of the Channel Divinity effects available to you from your two classes.
If you gain the Extra Attack class feature from more than one class, the features don't add together. You can't make more than two attacks with this feature unless it says you do (as the fighter's version of Extra Attack does). Similarly, the warlock's eldritch invocation Thirsting Blade doesn't give you additional attacks if you also have Extra Attack.
If you already have the Unarmored Defense feature, you can't gain it again from another class.
Your capacity for spellcasting depends partly on your combined levels in all your spellcasting classes and partly on your individual levels in those classes. Once you have the Spellcasting feature from more than one class, use the rules below. If you multiclass but have the Spellcasting feature from only one class, you follow the rules as described in that class.
Spells Known and Prepared. You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class. If you are a ranger 4/wizard 3, for example, you know three 1st-level ranger spells based on your levels in the ranger class. As 3rd-level wizard, you know three wizard cantrips, and your spellbook contains ten wizard spells, two of which (the two you gained when you reached 3rd level as a wizard) can be 2nd-level spells. If your Intelligence is 16, you can prepare six wizard spells from your spellbook.
Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your classes, and you use the spellcasting ability of that class when you cast the spell. Similarly, a spellcasting focus, such as a holy symbol, can be used only for the spells from the class associated with that focus.
Spell Slots. You determine your available spell slots by adding together all your levels in the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard classes, and half your levels (rounded down) in the paladin and ranger classes. Use this total to determine your spell slots by consulting the Multiclass Spellcaster table.
If you have more than one spellcasting class, this table might give you spell slots of a level that is higher than the spells you know or can prepare. You can use those slots, but only to cast your lower-level spells. If a lower-level spell that you cast, like burning hands, has an enhanced effect when cast using a higher-level slot, you can use the enhanced effect, even though you don't have any spells of that higher level.
For example, if you are the aforementioned ranger 4/wizard 3, you count as a 5th-level character when determining your spell slots: you have four 1st-level slots, three 2nd-level slots, and two 3rd-level slots. However, you don't know any 3rd-level spells, nor do you know any 2nd-level ranger spells. You can use the spell slots of those levels to cast the spells you do know — and potentially enhance their effects.
Pact Magic. 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.
Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level
Spell slots multiclass
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