UA:Building a Gestalt Character

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Building a Gestalt Character

To make a 1st-level gestalt character, choose two standard D&D classes. (You can also choose any of the variant classes in this wiki, though you can't combine two versions of the same class.) Build your character according to the following guidelines.

Hit Dice: Choose the larger Hit Die. A monk/sorceror would use d8 as her Hit Die and have 8 hit points (plus Constitution modifier) at first level, for example.

Base Attack Bonus: Choose the better progression from the two classes.

Base Saving Throw Bonuses: For each save bonus, choose the better progression from the two classes. For example, a first-level gestalt fighter/wizard would have base saving throw bonuses of Fortitude +2, Reflex +0, Will +2 - taking the good Fortitude save from the fighter class and the good Will save from the wizard class.

Class Skills: Take the number of skill points gained from whichever class grants more skill points, and consider any skill on either class list as a class skill for the gestalt character. For example, a gestalt barbarian/bard would gain skill points per level equal to 6 + Int modifier (and have four times this amount at first level) and can purchase skills from both the barbarian and bard lists as class skills.

Class Features: A gestalt character gains the class features of both classes. A 1st-level gestalt rogue/cleric, for example, gets sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding, 1st-level cleric spells, and the ability to turn or rebuke undead. Class- and ability-based restrictions (such as arcane spell failure chance and a druid's prohibition on wearing metal armor) apply normally to a gestalt character, no matter what the other class is.

A gestalt character follows a similar procedure when he reaches 2nd and subsequent levels. Each time he gains a new level, he chooses two classes, takes the best aspects of each, and applies them to his characteristics. A few caveats apply, however.

  • Class features that two classes share (such as uncanny dodge) accrue at the rate of the faster class.
  • Gestalt characters with more than one spellcasting class keep track of their spells per day separately.
  • A gestalt character can't combine two prestige classes at any level, although it's okay to combine a prestige class and a regular class. Prestige classes that are essentially class combinations - such as the arcane trickster, mystic theurge, and eldritch knight - should be prohibited if you're using gestalt classes, because they unduly complicate the game balance of what's already a high-powered variant. Because it's possible for gestalt characters to qualify for prestige classes earlier than normal, the DM is entirely justified in toughening the prerequisites of a prestige class so it's available only after 5th level, even for gestalt characters.

Gestalt Combinations

Because the player of a gestalt character chooses two classes at every level, the possibilities for gestalt characters are almost limitless. The following combinations are particularly potent.

Barbarian/Bard: The "bardarian" has two choices in battle: use a mix of party-aiding spells and attacks, or rage and use inspirational music to urge on the rest of the party while he attacks. Only the bardic music abilities that actually require a Perform check (such as countersong and fascinate) are off limits during a rage. Neither barbarians nor bards wear heavy armor, so gear selection is straightforward.

Barbarian/Wizard: The barbarian brings that d12 Hit Die to the table, and that's almost all that matters to the fragile wizard. A good Fortitude save is sure to save the gestalt character's hide a few times, and a high-Intelligence character benefits greatly from the union of two disparate class skill lists. The only downside? You can't cast spells in a rage. This combination deliberately tweaks the stereotypes of both classes, so you'll want to spend some time thinking about your character's backstory.

Cleric/Sorcerer: This gestalt combination is effectively the mystic theurge prestige class on steroids. You can load up on combat spells as a sorcerer, then prepare utility and protective spells as a cleric - which you can always spontaneously cast as healing spells if you like. As a side benefit, your high Charisma helps both your arcane spellcasting and your ability to turn undead.

Druid/Ranger: With the ranger's base attack bonus, you'll be a more effective combatant when you wild shape into a predator. The extra skills of a ranger are welcome, and if you choose the archery combat style, you'll be ready for both ranged combat and an up-close fight in wild shape form.

Fighter/Ranger: If you like feats, this is the class for you. Most fighters must choose whether to split their feats between melee and ranged combat or emphasize one kind of attack at the expense of the other. The fighter/ranger can have it both ways, relying on the fighter bonus feats to improve melee attacks and the ranger's combat style, improved combat style, and combat style mastery to pick up three good archery feats.

Fighter/Rogue: Every rogue likes to get behind the enemy and dish out sneak attack damage. With this gestalt combination, that trick gets even better because you have the hit points and Armor Class to survive toe-to-toe with the enemy, you'll hit more often, and you get more attacks, which just means more chances to pick up a fistfull of d6s. You can wear heavy armor, but you'll degrade some of your better skills and lose access to evasion.

Monk/Cleric: You'll probably give up your armor, but you can run around the battlefield in a blur, healing your comrads and putting the hurt on the bad guys with such combinations as stunning fist with an inflict serious wounds spell attatched. Once you draw up your new character, page through the d20 SRD spell list and notice how many great cleric spells have a range of touch. The same wisdom score that drives your spellcasting also improves your Armor Class.

Monk/Sorcerer and Monk/Wizard: With three good saves, more hit points, and the best unarmored Armor Class, the monk covers up many of the weak points of the sorcerer or wizard. The only downside is that the important ability scores for sorcerers and wizards - Charisma and Intelligence - are the two ability scores the monk cares least about. This can be a tough combination to pull off, especially if you're using point-based ability score generation.

Paladin/Sorcerer: Charisma does the heavy lifting for this gestalt combination. Why? Two words: divine grace. Like all sorcerers, you'll send your Charisma score into the stratosphere with the every-four-levels improvement and the best cloak of Charisma you can afford. Every time you get more spells, your saving throws improve as well. The downside? You can't wear armor like most paladins.

Sorcerer/Wizard: Unlike most gestalt characters your hit points, Armor Class, base attack bonus, and saving throws aren't any better than a standard sorcerer or wizard, but oh, the spells you can cast! Unlike a standard arcane spellcaster, you can afford to use your highest-level spells in most of your serious fights. It's a good idea to use your sorcerer slots on combat spells (such as the ubiquitous fireball) and the occasional defense or utility spell (perhaps mage armor or haste). Then you can use your wizard slots for spells that are great against certain foes (such as dismissal) or life-savers in specific situations (gaseous form). You can gamble a little more with your wizard spell selection because you know you have all those useful sorcerer spells backing you up.

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