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Gestalt (5e Variant Rule)

This page is of questionable


balance. Reason: Half XP does
NOT mean half level. A character
with 355,000 xp is level 20; half
that would make him a 15/15
gestalt, not a 10/10. Please
clarify. HD need some work,
since the lowest you'll get is a
d6! Besides, you've gotta give a
little for the versatility, especially
with this rule allowing standard
and gestalt characters to
coexist.

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Contents [hide]
1 Gestalt
1.1 Gestalt Class Level
1.2 HD
1.3 Saves
1.4 Skills
1.5 Starting Equipment
1.6 Features
1.7 Spell Casting
1.8 Archetypes
2 Power and Balance

Gestalt [edit]

A gestalt character is a method of crossclassing without sacrificing maximum level power from any constituent class. A gestalt
character essentially gains the full benefits of two classes simultaneously, allowing them to eventually reach the full level 20
benefits of both. Here's how it's done.

Gestalt Class Level [edit]

First, you must choose two classes that you wish to combine. A gestalt character can only have two classes and cannot cross-
class on level up. These two combined classes will now be treated as one class with a single class level equal to your character
level. Because of your exceptional talent and versatility, it takes much more effort and experience to reach a higher level of
ability. Your level up thresholds are fully doubled. So, while a standard character can reach level 2 at 300xp, a gestalt character
needs 600; the typical 900XP for level 3 becomes 1,800; and so on and so forth. If the DM is manually leveling characters based
on plot progression, gestalt characters should always be half the expected character level until the party reaches their limit.

HD [edit]

You use the higher of your two classes' hit dice.

Saves [edit]

If your two classes share any saves, you automatically have those saving throws. Otherwise, you get to choose from your
remaining options between the classes. For example, a Fighter/Paladin would be able to choose two saves from STR, CON,
CHR, and WIS, while a Fighter/Barbarian would be stuck with STR and CON, as those are the saves for both classes.

Skills [edit]

You may choose your skills from the combined skill list of both classes. However, the number of skills you may choose is the
lesser of the two. For example, if your two classes ask you to choose 4 skills and 6 skills, the gestalt of the two would choose 4.

Starting Equipment [edit]

Add up the total gold value of everything in each of the two gear load outs as though you got to keep everything. You will use
whichever equipment load out is less valuable.

Features [edit]

Features which are duplicates (Fighting Style) are received only the first time.
Features which overlap but conflict (Unarmored Defense) use whichever would yield the lowest benefit. So a barbarian/monk
with +5DEX, +3CON, and -1WIS will use the Monk's UAC, as it would confer the lesser effect.

Spell Casting [edit]

You keep track of your spell lists, spell slots, & etc. separately. For example, a Wizard/Sorcerer can only cast his sorcerer spells
using his sorcerer spell slots, and cannot use his sorcery points to cast wizard spells.

Likewise, the character uses each of the classes' Spell Casting abilities for their separate spells. A Sorcerer/Wizard would use
CHR for his sorcerer spells and INT for his wizard spells.
Finally, any features affecting spellcasting by a given class only affect spells cast from that class. For example, metamagic
granted by the Sorcerer class will only affect spells cast using Sorcerer spell slots.

Archetypes [edit]

At level 3, most of the core classes get a choice of several class archetypes. (Spell casters typically choose their archetype at
1st level) You will choose one for each. So, for example, a Rogue/Fighter who reaches level three could hypothetically take the
Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight archetypes simultaneously.

Power and Balance [edit]

Obviously, gestalt classing results in characters who are significantly more powerful than is standard. But how much more
powerful? The simple answer, that gestalt characters are twice as powerful as standard characters, isn’t accurate. Firstly, with
the halved advancement rate and preference of lesser overlaps, a lot of the raw power is usually drained from the combined
class. Further, gestalt characters don’t have an advantage in the most important game currencies: available actions and
battlefield presence. Even a character who can fight like a barbarian and cast spells like a sorcerer can’t normally do both in the
same round. A gestalt character can’t be in two places at once as two separate characters can be. Gestalt characters who try to
fulfill two party roles (melee fighter and spellcaster, for example) find they must split their feat choices, ability score
improvements, and gear selection between their two functions.
While a gestalt character isn’t as powerful as two characters of equal level, a gestalt character is more powerful than a standard
character, because they do excel in one metagame currency that can make or break a game: available player options. Hit points
will always be at least equal to those of a standard character, and gestalt characters have versatility that standard characters
can’t achieve without multiclassing. Furthermore, a party of gestalt characters has greater durability and many more spells per
day, so they can often take on more consecutive encounters without stopping to rest and prepare more spells.